It doesn’t matter how or where you produce your baby; you may give a glimpse of it to a friend, read a passage to a tutor, or submit a whole chapter for an online critique. Of course you will be nervous. Of course you want your work to be received well… but are you ready to take the criticism in the manner in which it is meant to be given?
Nobody wants to hear that something which has taken so much agonising over is not perfect. Workshops or writing groups are places where criticism is made in the public domain, so not only do you have to contest with criticism that you may feel unjust, but your emotions are laid bare for all to witness. Writing groups should offer a support network where writers are encouraged and nurtured. Just being around people with the same passion for writing as you have can be stimulating and motivating.
Remember that criticism should be a positive process. Don’t listen to the negatives but take the constructive points and try and incorporate them into your work. Hopefully, criticism will always be given from a good-will point of view, not with the desire to hurt, wound or destroy. If it is, then the person dealing this out is probably feeling threatened by the standard of your writing. Your baby is undoubtedly prettier than theirs!
Critiques are entirely subjective, but if you can learn to sift the relevant points from ones that you think are not pertinent you can only benefit from feedback. It is worth realising that not everybody will like your work and that, in fact, some of them may dislike it but this could be because it is not their type of fiction, or written in a genre that they would normally read.
If you only want to be lauded, then don’t ask for criticism. It can hurt!