Every beginning writer has heard the mantra – network, attend conferences, volunteer – and wonders whether it works.
Having working in the newspaper industry, networking and attending conferences and trade shows is essential. It is where new ideas spring from and where professionals meet others like them that can help give a business a competitive leg up. Volunteering, both industry and civic-minded associations, to a lesser extent, is crucial. It shows the professional’s willingness to work, to build up goodwill for their company while they develop relationships that often lasts well into retirement.
By volunteering, you also become a known quantity, which is always better than remaining unknown. People generally do not like the untried or unknown, and tend to congregate around the known. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet and get to know industry professionals, including agents and publishers, as well find support from your fellow writers.
In the writing and publishing business, networking, attending conferences and volunteering in various writing associations is a way to not only to learn the craft, promote yourself and your writing and show that you are serious about writing, but it is also a way to break out of your protective clam-like shell. Promoting yourself and your writing is not a bad thing; it is a necessary talent to develop and by definition, is one of the hardest for introverts. Take chances, realistic ones; it is the only way that you will see success. Be patient and continue writing. Instant gratification, sold by Hollywood and today’s consumerism, is not always what it is cracked up to be.