I didn't know that I was looking for a writing group, until one day when I was browsing in my neighborhood used bookstore. The store owner looked very literary-minded, maybe because she was surrounded by stacks of books, and so even after she recommended several novels, I continued my line of questioning. Did she write fiction? Was she involved with any writing groups? The answer was yes to both it turned out, and she invited me to join her group, perhaps because she was friendly, perhaps to restore quiet in the bookstore.
The people in this group have different perspectives on fiction although they all share a love of writing and cats—possibly the two traits are linked? One writes about pathological violence though outwardly she seems quite pleasant. Another always finds deep meaning in stories that the writers did not intend—but who then often accept credit for intending subconsciously. There is also a member who does not tolerate requests for extensions. "I did not see your story attached on your last email," he will respond. "Please send it within two hours." In trying to finish stories, this kind of pressure is particularly helpful (though further notices of deadline in T - 1 hr 40 min., and T - 1 hr. 30 min., less so).
Writing with this audience in mind has been much more productive than writing for the little blue folders on my computer. Because writing is usually solitary, I had forgotten how helpful it is to be part of a like-minded community. Feedback always provides perspective, and especially in a group, the debates can provoke new ideas—though we have also argued at too much length over whether a character's subway route could have been more time efficient.
So I am continuing to talk to more writers when I can—though sometimes it's hard to know exactly how to spot the people who are outwardly pleasant, but secretly focused on pathological narrators, cats, and denying extensions.