There’s more to becoming an author than just putting pen to paper, you need to make personal connections too.
I recently attended a seminar at a local library on writing and publishing, and it reminded me of an important aspect to the writer’s career that I haven’t yet touched on with this blog. Getting out there!
Writing is a solo activity. It’s isolating.
Yes, there is a plethora of information out there on the internet on learning how to publish and market your novel, but nothing beats firsthand knowledge and experience from your peers. You can always garner some titbit from attending events like these.
And another activity usually shunned by writers – networking. As a species, we’re usually most comfortable at the computer in a temperature controlled room with a steady supply of snack foods (*cough* breakfast cereal *cough*), we don’t have to worry about brushing our hair and can shuffle about in trackies and old t-shirts. Networking means, having to go through the grooming process (not so bad), venturing to some unfamiliar place where there is a lot of people (somewhat inconvenient) and taking to people, usually in front of everyone (*a cloud of dust as I sprint away*).
I can’t stress enough how valuable it has been for me to sit down and have a conversation with a fellow writer or aspiring author.
They help fan the flame of your enthusiasm for writing.
They provide you with information to help you along the way.
They can offer contacts to help your career.
Networking, or making friends in your industry, is a must do activity for all writers. Even if it’s only to email back and forth with updates and support, or catch up for an occasional coffee and swap stories, maybe you can critique each other’s work, or co-write a story.
It can be like finding a kindred spirit or a mentor. I know it can sound daunting, but it makes a massive difference to your career.
I know some seminars and workshops can be boring, or you fail to glean anything relevant for your situation, but if you see it as an opportunity to meet some likeminded bibliophiles, it’s a game changer. And yes, they are usually as introverted as you are, so it will take someone to break the ice. Walk up, introduce yourself, say what type of writing you do and ask them what they specialise in. Ask what they thought of the seminar, where they want their writing career to go… the words should start flowing. Swap emails, hand out your card. Even if you don’t find that writing buddy you dreamed of, you may make a fan, so really, it’s up to you what you want to get out of these events.
Plus it’s really good practice for when you get to the stage of talking to other professionals about publication or formatting your work, maybe trying to sell you book on a radio segment or t.v. spot. Someone’s got to do it, and if you don’t believe in your writing enough to flog it to everyone and sundry, no-one will ever hear about it.
You may even meet someone who has a foray into the side of things you don’t have a lot of confidence in, or know little about… there’s a foot in the door right there!
Well, this is sounding like a bit of a rant. So in closing – hit up a seminar. Make friends. Be awesome.
And as always, happy writing.
© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.