A writers' group is just what it sounds like. Most of these are local groups advertised in local newspapers, but some may be online groups or writers' forums. Writers can meet others who are interested in writing either as part of a career or as more of a hobby.
There are specific writers' groups such as those for science fiction writing, copywriting or screenwriting. But, many writers' groups are for all types of local writers to join. Most writers' groups don't have an entry fee and meet in a public place such as a community center or coffee shop.
The person who advertised the group usually runs it, contacts interested writers and prepares the activities. Activities at a writers' group may include readings of the writers' own works as well as writing exercises for the group. Writing exercises can be fun, creative, a good way to break the ice and they can help to create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere for the group.
Some writers’ groups may meet at an event such as a brunch that features a guest speaker. This can be interesting if the subject is something that matches the general interests of the writers' group as a whole. Discussions often follow speaking events.
Presenting work at a writers' group can be a good way to get public speaking practice as well as see how others react to your writing. Writers in a writers' group should be given ground rules as how to properly critique the work of others in the group. The idea is to encourage all writers and constructive feedback should be the goal after both writing presentations and responses to writing exercises.
Some writers' groups have both online and offline components. For example, the group may meet weekly in person, but also have online forums where members can sign in and leave comments. Exercises and reminders may be left on message boards and writers who are unable to attend a weekly meeting can let the group know in advance.