Networking and Superstars

This day, it doesn’t really matter which day it is, but the day you read this is the inaugural day of my blog. Blogging isn’t something I ever thought I would do, but over the last year I have come to believe that writing about what is going on in the world, my city, my life can be shared through the almost magical means of the internet.

Recently, I attended the Superstars Writing Seminars in Colorado Springs. One of the things that impressed me the most about the seminar was the professionalism of the faculty and how talented the attendees are. This seminar isn’t about how to write; you can learn that in many different ways. This seminar is about the business of being a writer, publishing, and networking. Let me stress the networking.

I am not comfortable in groups of people making small talk. I’ve never been comfortable or good at starting a conversation with people I don’t know. However, during the seminar I met young people, older people, shy people, and everything in between. I had great discussions about writing with people that write, not just talk about writing, but actually write and publish. I met people that forced me to ask the questions and be the extrovert. I met editors, publishers, writers that are successfully self published, meaning they can support themselves on what they write, and writers that are just starting out, like me. After five days of making myself be a part of the Superstars community, I understand how important networking is. I’m still uncomfortable in large crowds where I know few people, but I will continue to put myself in that situation so I can practice my networking skills. One of the benefits of networking is finding like minded souls.

As uncomfortable as I am in a group of unknowns, I love talking with one or two or three other people. I love to listen to people talk about their experiences. One woman I met had a career in the military and listening to her stories clarified why she writes. She is a wonderful storyteller. Other people shared their unfortunate experiences with self publishing and traditional publishers. People talked about their book covers, how lucky they were to have a great writing group, and how they got into writing. Many of the people I talked to worked at other jobs, like I do. Writing is a passion for us and we hope to be full time writers some day. I file the information I learn away for later, when I start to push my way into being published.  Yes, push my way into publishing.

Being published isn’t for the weak willed. It is unlikely that anyone will walk up to you and say, “Hey, I like your writing. Let me publish you.” Everyone I’ve talked to had worked hard to get their stuff out there. They’ve had to eliminate passages, paragraphs, or whole chapters that didn’t move their story along even when those passages were beautifully written and perfect. It is a slow and tedious process even when it is a labor of love. After you’ve polished your work and it’s “out there,” you have to get people to read what you wrote. I don’t mean just your family and friends. You need others to pick up your spark and carry so it catches on. Remember what I said about networking. It’s important.

Be professional, be friendly, and go out there and make some connections. You never know where it may lead.