Writing is such a solitary event that it can feel as if you're all alone. But you don't have to be. There are writer groups for a variety of genres. Organizations may have instructional events, guest speakers, workshops, retreats, conferences. They're a good place to learn AND to network with others who "get" what you're doing. For me the best thing I did for my writing was being involved with some groups, and along the way I've made great friends, too.
Here is a sampling of groups and organizations, with some focus on Kansas, since that's where I currently live. I strongly believe every children's writer should check out the first one!
Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators - an international organization that offers conferences world-wide, publications, discussion boards, grants.
Institute of Children's Literature - a school that offers correspondence courses with published authors as instructors, plus they have chats, web articles, a great enewsletter, and a podcast.
Christian Children's Writers List - an online group where you can meet others writing for the Christian children's market.
Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens - a local Kansas City group with a renowned Wednesday critique group.
Heart of America Christian Writers Network - a local Christian group who offers monthly meetings and an annual conference.
Kansas Author's Club - welcomes creative, technical, academic and journalistic writers.
The Kansas City Writers Group - a local group that meets in Shawnee, Kansas and offers workshops and critique groups.
Missouri Writer's Guild - a statewide group that offers annual conferences.
The Writer's Place - a local Kansas City group who offers workshops, speakers, and does art displays.
Association of Authors' Representatives - has information on questions to ask an agent, a member's list, and more.
The Author's Guild - a national organization open to published authors writing for adults and children.
The Children's Book Council - a trade association for children's publishers. They create a lot of useful publications. Also, includes meet the author/illustrator pieces.