Writing groups and mentors

I just sat through my second webinar about writing, and the assorted details that go with that topic. In both of these I was told to find a writing critique group and a mentor. The critique group should have a many times published author for a leader, and the mentor should offer straightforward and constructive criticism of the work.

Where is the best place to find these humans?

Should they be focused on my genre and should I expect to pay for these services?

I’m curious about the experiences of others who have done this. How large was the critique group? How often did you interact with your mentor?

I persevere in my attempt to do my best in my writing and have learned a lot from these sessions along with the things I’ve found online and in print.

Educating myself about this started with why I want to write. My honest, from the heart response is I’ve always written. In fifth grade I wrote a story about toilet paper! Writing happens, it’s getting my work out that is the focus of all of this effort.

I would love your comments.