January 30, 2012

How to Make Friends and Network in the Writing World

In my post last Monday, I talked about how excited I was to discover that the writing world is not as cutthroat as I had once believed and how it has helped me on my writing journey to gain support and encouragement from fellow writers.

But in order to gain that support and encouragement, you have to step out of your comfort zone. You have to reach beyond your desk and your computer and immerse yourself in the writing world.

I know. It can be a scary thing. We put our thoughts, our reputations, our very selves out there—it’s not easy, and no one else can do it for you.

But it’s totally and completely worth it.

Today I want to give a few suggestions on ways to connect with other writers:

Visit other blogs.
Sure it’s great to have your own blog; in fact, I think it’s necessary to help you to hone your writing style and voice and to discover what it’s like to stick to deadlines. But it’s also important to read other people’s blogs. Because chances are, people won’t just “happen upon” your blog. So if you want to really get connected, don’t just sit there waiting for people to come read your blog. Go read their blogs and start building relationships by commenting.

Reading others’ blogs will also help you to understand what’s going on in the industry. It’s also great to gain advice from industry professionals at all points in the publication journey; from unpublished, to agented, to published authors, there’s something to learn from everyone.

Email other writers to make a more personal connection.
Once you’ve found authors whose blog you like, email them to make a more personal connection. I love it when bloggers reply to my comments, but it’s even cooler to get an email reply and build a real relationship this way.

Support your fellow writers through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
One of the coolest things I’ve seen from the writing community is writers’ willingness to promote each other’s blogs and published work. I am constantly seeing tweets and Facebook “shares” from writers promoting others’ work, and I love to get in on the action. In your face-to-face relationships it is important to cheer each other on—nothing’s different about relationships with those you’ve met online.

Attend conferences and participate in writing groups.
I know that forming online relationships can still seem somewhat “distant” when you haven’t met someone face to face. So one great thing to do is attend a conference and establish those face-to-face relationships (which you can then continue online if you don’t live nearby). Joining local writing groups also provides a great level of accountability as you slog your way through your WIP.

Your Turn: Any other suggestions for how to immerse yourself in the writing world and build a network of relationships with other writers?

*Photo courtesy of jannoon028

19 comments:

  1. These are great observations, Lindsay! Some of my newest and dearest friends are writers I've met through blogging and twittering, and those friendships are even stronger after meeting them face-to-face at conferences. I hope to meet you face-to-face someday!! :)

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    1. I hope so too, Heather! I plan to be at ACFW this year. Hope to meet you there. :)

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  2. You've done a great job connecting with others, Lindsay. I also wasn't afraid to enter into critique partnerships. Taught me so much.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Thank you so much, Wendy. You've been such an encourager for me. And yep, I definitely want to dive into critique partnerships...and soon!

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  3. Great tips! I loved getting an email from you and connecting. :) It's amazing how encouraging a simple comment on a blog or link on Twitter/Facebook encourages me...makes me feel not only connected, but truly befriended. All the better when I get to meet people in person!

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    1. I totally agree, Melissa. When someone gives me an RT on Twitter or Facebook shares one of my posts, it brightens my day. Seriously. And I've loved connecting with you too!

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  4. I have been amazed at the friendships I have been forming, the support I have received and the encouragement I feel. I didn't think I would like blogging so much, but it is definitely a blessing

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    1. I agree, TC. Blogging has been a GREAT way for me to not only hone my voice, but start to build a little online community. It's neat to have your own little corner of the Internet that you can help shape and mold. Pretty sweet stuff!

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  5. I have had the pleasure of meeting many other authors on FB or Twitter who have allowed me to ask them questions about writing, publishing, etc. I never would have done this without social media!

    It takes some time, but it is worth it.

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    1. You've hit the nail on the head, Ruth. It takes time. At first, I'm pretty sure my dad was the only one reading my blog. But now I've got some faithful commenters (thank you!) and am meeting new people all the time. I love it!

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    2. Oh, and I appreciate all the readers out there who don't comment as well. Thanks to you all too.

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  6. Online friendships are awesome, but nothing beats meeting those people in person at a conference. I've developed some irreplaceable friendships as a result. But it all has to start somewhere, right? :) Which is why I love your advice to reach out and meet other bloggers. Otherwise, the only person reading your blog will be...you. :)

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    1. I look forward to seeing if I agree, Sarah! :P I'm hoping to meet a lot of friends at ACFW this fall...you included, if you're there!

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  7. I've enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and Twitter, Lindsay, and look forward to the day we can meet in person.

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    1. Thanks, Keli. Same to you! And I look forward to that too. But don't be surprised if I ask you to autograph my copy of your book! :)

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  8. Coming late to the conversation, Lindsay. It's been a build the word count kind of day, celebrate the book cover kind of day, and edit a magazine kind of day ... boy, I'm tired!
    But the fun thing about blogging: The conversation is waiting for me at the end of these kinds of days.
    I love how a relationship can start online and begin growing and then get turbo-charged when you finally meet that person face to face.
    I try to remember that there's a person on the other side of every comment, tweet, and post. And I like to think of my blog as a conversation ... it makes it all the more fun.

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    1. You're absolutely right, Beth. The conversation just keeps on going...I love it! I like your use of turbo-charged here. Makes me even more motivated to attend conferences and meet all my online friends in person. :)

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  9. Lindsay, this is my first visit to your blog and it definitely won't be my last! I'm so glad we connected, there's lots of great stuff here.

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    1. Welcome here, Edie! I'm enjoying your blog as well and can't wait to check out more there.

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