Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lessons in networking

As a writer, networking is important. It's important for us to network because it helps us to:

  • Learn about other writers out there. I have known many for years and consider a great deal of them to be my friends.

  • Hear about other publishing opportunities. A lot of my work has found a home because of networking with editors, agents and publishers.

  • Get clued in about news and events related to writing and publishing. Whether it's through Facebook, MySpace, a newsletter or blog post, there's bound to be some relevant writing or publishing related news that I was grateful to learn about.

  • Spread the word about you and your work. This can be done by mentioning what you write, announcing a recent clip, or how you know about something thanks to writing about it in your book.

  • Build up an audience. Every single person you meet can be a future reader of your article or book.

Of course, there are other benefits of networking. You can network in person and through the Internet. (A majority of the networking I do is through the Internet.) But the above are major contributors to building a successful and long-lasting writing career. I have learned many tips and lessons as a writer thanks to networking, but it's only recently that I discovered how networking can even teach me a thing or two about networking.

Specifically, how it's important to NEVER STOP NETWORKING!

With two books keeping me busy (and the occasional short story, essay or article), I've started to prioritize my activities in order to allow for more time to work on the books. One of the things I slowed down on was networking. I naively thought, 'I can always get back to networking later.' I figured that everyone out there would understand (since, after all, a lot of them are writers, too!) and that I could pick up where I left off after the books were done.

It wasn't long before I discovered that nothing could be further from the truth! Sure I can get back to networking after I had more time, but I have learned that there's no way I can just STOP networking.

Actually, networking itself was pulling me (kicking and screaming, reaching madly for my unfinished manuscript!) back into the system before I even had a chance to step out. There were publishing opportunities! There were interview opportunities! There were writers talking about some REALLY important topics I just had to throw in my comments about!

In essence, I was trying to leave behind a "job" before I was even "finished" with it. I thought taking a sabbatical was allowed when it came to this particular "job" but, actually, if you want to keep your name out there, you have to keep your name out there!

You need to always grab those opportunities and those "promotional windows" and stay a part of it all. Don't sacrifice your networking even when your plate is full or deadlines are looming.

Because after all is said and done, you'll have to wonder, where do I go from here?

By keeping up the networking, chances are good there will be an answer.

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  • At 1:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I tend to think we network to keep our sanity. Just to know there are others out there toiling.


  • At 4:16 PM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Yet another good reason for networking. :)


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