Local Library Resources
I never realized how many writing resources I had at my fingertips. When I first started writing I went through as many Youtube tutorial/tips and tricks videos as I could find. While they provided great information, I needed face to face discussion to really thrive. That's when I looked at the place someone should probably go to first that I hadn't thought about: the library.
Writer in residency is an invaluable program. It is a grant authors apply for to receive a monthly stipend in exchange for logging in hours at your local library. The author gives lectures, workshops, and makes themselves available for one-on-one appointments with aspiring writers.
I took advantage of this program on several occasions, meeting one-on-one with Melissa Marr and Tom Leveen. Going in I was insanely nervous. I had yet to put my work before a large audience (before I attended my weekly writer's group), but I was determined. I submitted my first five pages and first chapter to polish it before I sought a home for the finished work. My heart raced the entire time. I feared they'd say my writing was complete dog crap. That I'd wasted my time following a dream I just wasn't cut out for. My first feedback was pretty average: things I needed to work on along with things I did well with. When I went in the second time, things turned out much better. Melissa even helped me narrow down places to submit my work when I finished combing through the final draft.
I also attended a few of their lectures. From character creation to plotting, marketing to publishing, they gave insight into their own views on how to improve your story and get your work ready to query.
This experience gave me the courage to seek out writing critique groups so I could work with peers and continue to hone my craft. I recommend checking out your local library for events such as this.