I’ve been a part of several online writing groups for quite a few years, but there’s nothing quite like sitting in a meeting room, say at your local coffee shop, restaurant, or library, writing and talking about writing. To be about writing, in a Zen sort of way.
That being said - if you are thinking about starting a group, or becoming a part of an established group, you should really define your purpose. It’s easy to get sidetracked with a group of like-minded writers and start talking about the industry, gossip, the upcoming conference, etc. And if that is part of the purpose of the group, all the better. However, in many cases the purpose is to critique each other’s work, discuss craft, or set aside a predetermined amount of time to dive into your work(s) in progress. Therefore, focus is paramount to accomplishing your writing goals and keeping true to the purpose of the group.
When you are with a group of like-minded people, then the work you are doing seems to flow (at least in my experience). It’s like we are rallying together to keep that persistent entity known as writer’s block from fully taking over our mind. Now there are more than one to pick on, and it gets harder for that bully to achieve its master plan.
If you are finding it difficult to get motivated, these physical groups are able to counter that by making you accountable for your work. There is a natural tendency for us to be true to our words. This makes a full out battle with staring at the blank page turn in our favor.