Although it is by no means mandatory, joining up with a group of writers can have advantages. Whether it is an online forum, such as Absolute Write or a regional group, such as the Chicago Writers Association, you can find other writers to talk to, bounce ideas off of or just plain hang out with. I am a member of the CWA, and they offer things such as an e-group and networking opportunities. The e-group is a great way to keep up with what is going on “out there”.
Whether you join a group or not is up to you. Some people don’t find them useful, but I think joining a couple that are hand-picked can be a good idea. I’m not particularly social by nature, but it is nice to know I can go and vent if I have a difficult assignment or see what other people are up to in the writing game.
Here is a list of associations to browse. There are also plenty of groups on Yahoo as well as writing forums to choose from. If you have found one that you think is particularly useful, please share!