On Tuesday night, my writers workshop was over at my house for a meeting. Among other things, we did a story of mine, a kind of essay/narrative about the Fermi paradox. More fun than it sounds, swear.
I've been a member of the Cambridge Science Fiction Workshop for...let's just say a long time. Most of my stories have gone through it.
I'm not particularly clubbable, so my ability to function as part of a delicate social organism like a writers workshop shows how beneficial I find it. I've never been a big part of fandom or SF society in general, so this is my connection to other writers.
Some workshops are psychologically supportive, and help writers get confidence. This one focuses on the work. If you don't already have confidence ("confidence" here being only moderately correlated with "ability": getting better makes some people more confident, but doesn't seem to do much for others) this would be the wrong place for you. They'll rip your heart out and kindly point out that your aortic arch is a feeble cliche.
Anyway, aside from a couple of visits to Sycamore Hill (a one-week professional workshop), this is my experience of writing workshops. Some people have gone through Clarion, and been to dozens of these things. Still, when I do go to a science fiction convention, I'm often put on writing workshop panels. Maybe it's because the organizers fear I have nothing else to say. But when you do see me bloviating on one of these panels, you can relax in the comforting knowledge that I really don't have any idea of what I'm talking about.