Networking takes time. Are the benefits worth the time and expense ?
Yesterday I had lunch with Bonnie Feldstein. I met Bonnie a decade ago when we were both involved as volunteers with the Eastern Shore Writers Association and The Bay to Ocean Writers Conference. Over the years I got to know Bonnie as smart, opinionated and pee-your-pants funny. She’s an accomplished writer (she writes as Anna Gill) who has a lot of information about people who can help writers and, more importantly, is willing to share.
Since Bonnie lives in upstate New York, we only manage to get together once a year or so. And each time we meet we are in different places in our writing careers. When she finished her last novel, The Island Woman, she told me it was the last one. Yesterday she confided that there was another story that just wouldn’t let her be, so she is deep in the weeds of another book.
I’m in the editing part of my latest novel–I still have to figure out the title–and she had some ideas about future marketing and people who might help with that. I had planned to use CreateSpace for formatting but that option is no longer available. Another hurdle to jump and Bonnie had some suggestions.
Networking lunches are invaluable, if only to connect with another writer who understands how grueling the process can be. In my experience they are well worth the time and expense. Even if I hadn’t learned something yesterday that may help my writing, I had the pleasure of spending time with a friend. Time away from my writing desk is important, too.
Networking doesn’t have to be lunch. It can be coffee early in the morning or a glass of wine at happy hour. It can happen at meetings and conferences. A shared card can lead to more.
Much of my networking happened because of my volunteer efforts in the writing community. If I hadn’t been involved with the Eastern Shore Writers Association and the Bay to Ocean Writing Conference, I would never have met Bonnie or many others now in my writing circle. People who are now friends and aquaintances I can email with a question or concern. Even if they didn’t know the answer they might be able to point me in a direction. Or tell me to hang in there, the plot point I’m searching for will show up.
For us introverted writers networking is worth the effort.