It’s all about networking….
Many years ago, I was a struggling freelance writer. Wait, I’m still a struggling freelance writer. I can prove it by showing you the rejections I just received this the past week.
Years ago I was working in the newsroom of a city newspaper. It was a fast paced, hectic job, and I learned a lot working there, especially in fact checking and editing. I loved it, but there came a time when I knew I wanted to be more of a writer, less of a gofer.
I’d already had some success in getting published, mostly in equine publications because horses were my passion. But I wanted more bylines, and so I quit the newspaper business and established my own freelance writing and editing company. To say I struggled along is to put it mildly. But with a lot of hard work, research, and perfecting of ideas and articles, I can truthfully say that I made that dream come true, but I was not alone.
I had support from my husband and family, and there were a couple of magazine editors who liked my work, but because writing can often be a lonely business, I needed the companionship of other writers who understood this life.
There are plenty of writer support groups and classes at schools, libraries and community centers. The people who gather for these want help and guidance in writing and publishing. They want to learn. They also want someone to critique their work. That’s all commendable, but it was not what I wanted. I wanted to sit down with a group of working writers and talk about the job of turning words into profit.
I contacted some of my writing friends and the Writer’s Coffee Consortium was born in my town. It has been fifteen years or more, and that group still meets once a month in a local coffee shop to share their successes and failures, and to encourage each other to keep on writing. And every gathering produces a lot of laughter as we share our stories.
In our group, we don’t read each other’s material until it is published, because none of us wants to pass judgement on another’s writing style, but we have always welcomed fledgling writers into the group to support and encourage them. Some don’t come back, but many have stayed with the group and are published today.
There are lots of ways to network. Getting together with a group of people who share a common interest is one way, and an important one. We all need moral support in what we do. So, find a group, club, class that you feel will help you in your endeavors, but make sure it fits your needs and expectations.
Don’t expect too much from a group. Do you want people to read and critique your writing? To be truthful, it’s difficult to find someone who will honestly tell you if they don’t like what you have written. No one wants to discourage you or hurt your feelings. Those in a writing group won’t do it. A writing instructor will. An editor will. The best thing you can hope for in a writers group is to know that you are not alone in the great abyss of the publishing world.