Write on Wednesday – Is Networking Worth the Effort? – February 27, 2019

Networking takes time.  Are the benefits worth the time and expense ?

bonniefeldstein

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 Womanshe 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.

 

 

 

Networking “Down the Ocean”

We’ll take a brief hiatus from writing mid-week when we go down to Ocean City, Maryland and spend the night with our friend Bonnie Feldstein. Bonnie writes as Anna Gill and Laura and I got to know her through her involvement with the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference where she’s handled manuscript reviews the last couple of years. She lives in Rochester, New York, but spends a couple of months in Ocean City holed up in a condo and dedicating herself to writing. We’re both jealous she’s figured out how to do that.

anna gill

On the agenda — dinner and then lots of girl talk. Bonnie has a wicked sense of humor and is a great story teller. At BTO she had us in stitches with a tale of trying on a full length (bra included) Spanx. This is supposed to give you a lean look from shoulder to knee and take care of any bulgy bits. I could relate! Apparently Bonnie’d been given a size too small to take into the dressing room, but she managed to get it up over knees, hips and bust. Once it was on, however,  she couldn’t breathe and only managed weak “help me, help me’s” from her stall. I had images of The Fly superimposed on Bonnie held captive by Spanx from which she had to be rescued by a saleslady. At that point Laura and I were laughing so hard we were crying.

Networking isn’t just about working. Forging personal bonds over stories and wine is the best networking there is.

Note to self: do not wear mascara when visiting Bonnie!