Hi Chris!!Welcome to FW ! This is an incredible site filled with amazing people who genuinely want to help others be the best writer possible and all this plus some wonderful Christian fellowship. If you want some honest critiques you should check out the Critique Circle. It's a great place to get helpful feedback and 99% of the people truly do want you to become a better writer and are willing to help.
One of the things I really like about FW is its diversity. We have teens to grandparents and just about every genre from devotions to sci-fi.
This is a wonderful place to find people who will rejoice over your victories and want to help you meet your goals and dreams. I've been to other writing sites where it felt like they just wanted to bash my stories and bring me down. FW was an answer to my prayers.
Since I have some health problems, it's hard to get out of the house. I had felt quite isolated until I came here. Now, though, I've made some wonderful friends from all over the States to Australia, Africa, England, Thailand and Latvia. These aren't just casual friendships but close friends, many of whom I talk or text each day.
The forums are a great place to get to know one another. The Water Cooler is a place to chill and talk about anything from the weather to just saying howdy. There are a couple of small groups who love and support each other. Since you are from Oregon, you might want to check out The Pacific Coast Rest Stop here
I'm from Western NY and pop in often so am the oddball but the people are amazing. I'll admit the Rest Stop people can be a tad wacky.The prayer Forum offers an opportunity to pray with others or ask for your own prayer requests or share some joys. The Open Forum is the best place to find writing related threads.
One of the biggest draws to FW is the weekly challenge. You do have to be a paid member to participate, but if you can afford the few dollars a month it is so worth it. I've learned to write on a regular basis. Without a deadline, I tend to procrastinate. It has also stretched my imagination with up to 100 or more people writing on the same topic, it's important to finds a way to stay on topic but be different from others. Silver members can try the challenge for free, for four times throughout the year. I think it's also the best place to get feedback on your work. Definitely more people tend to read the challenge stories.
Don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have or jump into any discussions. I look forward to getting to know you and read some of your work.