If you’re a writer one thing you ought to do is join as many writer’s groups as you have the time for. Mostly they meet once a month, so if you fit three or four into your busy schedule then it might be helpful in so many different ways.
For a start, they are all different, with different formats, agendas, and members. Some are non-critical, in other words, are based on the power of positive thinking. ‘That was great’, they’ll say, even if it may not have been your best work. And there’s room for that.
Others will assess your work, if you’re game enough to allow that to happen. Without having others assess or critique your work how on earth are you to know if it’s any good? It seems to be a vital part of the process, a role that is needed so you know whether your manuscript is ripe for alteration or ready for submission.
And there are others who will call in a guest speaker each month to talk on various topics, from research to publishing, from submissions to poetic license.
All groups serve their purpose, and mixing and matching between groups is most likely going to give you a well-rounded outlook. Speaking in front of a crowd, listening to your work being assessed, and contributing in a room full of strangers can do nothing but general good to you as a person, writer and, hopefully (one day), published author.
So join writing groups where you live and you’ll likely find they will have nothing if not a positive influence on your road to publication.