I love my writers' groups. I belong to two: one I joined when my oldest son was a baby--so that must be about 13 years ago now. We meet once a month, read our work aloud, and comment on the fly. The group itself has been going for over 25 years, so is well-established and full of writers who are both critical yet kind.
The second group I joined perhaps three years ago now. It is kidlit only (the first group is everything under the sun). We meet twice a month, read the pages beforehand, and critique in a circle. Several of the members are grads of the MFA program at Vermont College, so they really know their stuff (and seem to have read everything under the sun.)
Both groups have helped me immeasurably. I have no problem bringing first draft stuff to them, and they don't hesitate to tell me if I'm wandering off track.
The historical novelist, Mary Balogh, has a slightly different take, however:
"My advice is to keep strictly alone until the work is complete to your own satisfaction. This is a work of art, and it comes from your talent, experience, value system, and very being. It has your unique and distinctive voice. You ought to be very wary of allowing anything in that might contaminate or upset the balance of those precious facts. Get advice--even follow it if you choose!--after the work is finished, but not before."Do you belong to a writers' group (or two!)? Do you show your first draft work, or only work that is finished?