Kill your darlings!
Have you ever fallen in love with a scene in your novel? It's perfect! The way you pored over its every sentence, gave so much love and thought into the setting and plot. And your characters! How real it feels. How in love you are . . .
So you eagerly whisk it to your critique group and--what? It is something that has nothing to do with the story? You've gotta what? No!
I've had to kill my darlings time and time again. But guess what? I cheat. I cut and paste it into a secret file so that I can maybe turn it into a book itself.
Tell me about a time or two where you've had to kill your darlings.