One of my many goals this year is to network with other writers and be a part of the community–both off-and-online.
Patti Larsen, a Fellow Writer member on Facebook, had the brilliant idea to have a blogfest every second Tuesday of every month with a topic we can all write about and read. The blogfest’s purpose is twofold: getting to know other writers and increasing traffic for our respective blogs. For this month it’s New Connections. These connections can be just about anything under the sun.
Creating connections or networking is a challenge for me for offline because by nature I’m aloof, and I have to really force myself to be outgoing. A lot of people have a hard time believing that since I appear at ease in social situations, but since I was 18 years old I’ve given myself these pep talks to engage people in conversation and learn to enjoy myself at parties. And I put on damn good act that I’m a social butterfly, although it takes me pretty close to a week to psych myself up.
Apart from opening my mouth and actually speaking to people at the grocery store, the health food joint, the post office, and the library, I’ve attempted to forge new connections so others can get to know me. This includes changing my Twitter handle to my real name, I’ve befriended other writers on Facebook, and I also joined the aforementioned Fellow Writers group on Facebook. Now I have to take it up a notch and actually socialize in actual venues, and meet agents and editors. Oh boy, my gut already feels like a pin cushion at the thought of approaching an agent in person.
Last summer, with this whole networking notion in my head, I attended a small symposium on getting published that was hosted by our local library. On the panel were some important editors and agents who live here on this itty-bitty island. After the panel member were finished speaking, it was time to schmooze and I introduced myself to one of the agents. She didn’t seem to be interested in forming any new connections at all; well, at least with me. It left me a bit traumatized; no, not really. And to be honest, the two agents who were on the panel were not the right fit at all for Julius.
In any case, I see giving myself a lot of pep talks this year and maybe I’ll actually learn to like networking.