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Writer's groups are usually informal gatherings of writers for the purpose of encouragement, to critique each other's manuscripts and to provide constructive criticism. Some groups may have more formal rules, such as the number of required submitted works to the group each month, the critiquing by each member of two or more manuscripts of other writers in the group per month, and planned discussion times.

Interaction with professional writers may be scheduled, and guest speakers/critiques are often part of the group's activities. Some of the more established writers in the group may take the lead in discussions, sharing their methods and techniques with the group. The encouragement that can be gained through learning of the successes of others within the group can provide a lot of motivation!

These groups are excellent avenues for learning; the new writer who may feel uncomfortable in a group of all ‘professionals' will gain confidence by working with and helping other writers who are on the same level as themselves. Through discussion of markets, writer's guidelines and rejection/acceptance letters, each writer in the group has the chance to share what new ideas they have gained. They will also see what areas they need to work on and will be able to improve their writing to the point that they have sales to discuss instead of just rejections.

Not all writer's groups meet in person. There are many online groups who conduct their critiques and discussions through e-mail or discussion boards. This is a great way for someone who may not be able to travel to take advantage of the encouragement and learning that can be gained by being part of a writer's group.

Often writers feel isolated. Writing groups are excellent ways for writers to connect with others sharing the same passion for words and creativity. Check your local newspaper to find out if there is anything available in your area, or call your local college or library. You may also use the Internet to find online writing groups.