Writer networking is as important as writing time.
Writing is a solitary pursuit. By nature, the craft is best executed in a state of near meditation.
To become a successful professional writer or ghostwriter though, you’re going to need to meet other people. I’ll wait for that shock wave to wash over you… but it is true. Your story comes by reaching down into you.
But your story also comes from reaching out to others.
This weekend is the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon. It’s the high holidays of my writing year, the beginning of my calendar. One of the premier writer networking gatherings on the west coast, this weekend is a golden opportunity to look at best practices on how to interact to get the most out of your time out.
People remember those who help them. Even if it’s just opening a door or helping a wayward soul find a conference room, be of assistance whenever you can.
I work volunteer for this conference for this simple reason. Sure, my time gets me a steep discount on admission, but having a task and a practical purpose helps with my anxiety.
Don’t Be “That Person”:
My favorite agent is here. So is my all time favorite producer. These are “the who” I need to know to get where I need to go.
But these folks are here working. They’re here to please their bosses and with that comes stress. Give your target people space. Let them breathe. If your tastemaker is in the lobby and they’re pondering a text, do not bombard them.
Don’t Be Starstruck:
The opposite of the above is also true… do not be intimidated by “the who” you are here to meet. They’re here to meet, mingle and make connections too. If your person is at the bar, don’t be shy. Strike up that conversation. Say hey.
One of the key mistakes writers make is focusing ALL of their networking energy on agents and managers. Most writers forget the hundreds of other people walking around.
I work as an editor, so my fellow writers are a place to network for new business. That isn’t the extent though. The friends you make on the way up in the writing game are absolutely key. I could write a whole blog on this (and likely will) but writer networking makes it imperative to connect with your peers and make them colleagues.
To return to a previous theme. Help one another.