Chef Robert Irvine is one cool dude.
I'm an avid Food Network TV watcher, whenever I get a chance to watch TV, which usually amounts to an hour or so a day, depending on how much writing I get done. I don't watch Food Network TV because I want to be a chef. I just enjoy cooking. It's not a passion of mine--that I reserve for my writing.
Robert Irvine, over the past few years, he hosted a show called Dinner Impossible where he was challenged to create meals, under not-so-ideal circumstances, in not-so-ideal time-limits. Nowadays, he upped the ante in the show Restaurant Impossible. In RI, Robert goes into failing restaurants, shows the owners what they're doing wrong, how they can fix it, and does it all within a very frugal budget (typically for $10,000 in 48 hours). I've even liked a similar show called Bar Rescue for much the same reasons: because I can transfer it back to my writing.
These TV shows are analagous to editing one's stories in the way of having someone else read it. Critically. We all have someone who'll give us the tough love and tell us our story stinks worse than a pile of rotten potatoes (which, by the way, does smell like shit). Hopefully that person is a reader. Having, and trusting, someone who will read your writing with a critical eye will give you an edge over someone else.
This person, 99.999999% of the time, will be someone unreleated to you--because we all know how much family members tell the truth. NOT! This person will be a good friend, and could even be another writer. Do you have to pay this person? Not in my opinion you don't. Even Stephen King points out in his book On Writing that he has a group of people, outside of his editorial circle, who reads his stories, and he said nothing about paying them. I, personally, would be honored if Mr. King chose me to read a future story of his (hint, hint!)