I have recently chronicled my sad pre-group life. How I couldn't find motivation with a floodlight and eight extra hands. (Not that I had either.) How I was left to muddle through by myself with one or two stalwart-but-unmotivated friends. How my writing was doomed to stagnate with only my still-enamored-by-the-sight-of-my-own-words self to critique my... self.
Now, not only do I have an awesome group of writers to critique my work, but I have all these lovely feelings of guilt when I slack! (Like I've been doing lately. Ahem.)
Also, critiquing the works of others teaches me SOOO much about what works and what doesn't, and helps me to better spot the same things in my own writing. I truly believe that anyone trying to learn to be a writer should get a group if only for this benefit: reading and critiquing other writer's works is awesome.
The best part about my writer's group, though, is the camaraderie. Very few of us have met in real life (that should change in a few weeks: Yay!), but that doesn't stop me from feeling like I have a core of loyal writer friends who are happy when I have a success, who let me gripe about all the things you're not supposed to gripe about, and who truly understand what it's like to slog through this industry. Not because they can imagine it, but because they're doing it, too.
My group boasts self-published authors, short-story anthology authors, and at least one now-inactive member who has signed a traditional publication contract or two--on a book we got to help edit. Since I've read a lot more of my group's books, I can confidently say that there will be more contracts in our future.
We are the Pied Pipers.
So how do you like your group?