Writing may be a solitary thing, but I'm pretty sure that most of us don't keep it solitary. We get by with a little help from our friends. (And I want to know if you were able to read that line without the tune going through your head. Seriously.)
Some of the very best kind of friends to help your craft come from Writing Groups / Critique Groups, Writing Organizations, and Critique Partners.
I want to hear about yours! Are you part of a critique group? How long has your group been together? How about critique partners? Have you joined any writing organizations? If you have, now's your chance to pimp them. Tell us what you love about them! Tell us how they've helped you! Is it an organization you'd recommend others join? Is it worth the money?
I am in a critique group, and the five of us meet weekly. We've been together for a little over three years. I wouldn't ever think of writing a book that anyone was going to read without them. They help immensely!
I am also a member of SCBWI. I've heard they are a fantastic group, but I can't say that I've taken advantage of what they offer too much yet, though. If you write YA/MG/PB, they are definitely tops. And I've heard their conferences are AMAZING! They do one in Los Angeles, and one in New York every year. Someday.... SOMEDAY, I will go to the New York one. Hello! Publishing Capitol of the world! Largest children's writers organization putting it on! **Pauses to imagine the photo bombing that could go on there.** Anyone want to join me? How fun would that be?!
I write action / adventure books for middle grade readers, and I'm represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties. I have two books released-- SKY JUMPERS and THE FORBIDDEN FLATS (both action / adventure, for ages 8 and up, with Random House Children's Books). I love happy kids even more than I love cookies, I make lists as often as I eat lunch, and I love having every light in the house on almost as much as I love writing.