Dec 4, 2013

Introvert and Insecure about Networking - No More!

Time for another Insecure Writers Support Group post. To join up, simply click on the badge:
Drawing a topic from my long list of insecurities, today I thought I'd tackle 'networking'.

Networking is a great buzz word in business, but for me, it simply means connecting with peers. Sounds less intimidating that way, doesn't it? And yet, it still scares me.

It's important to connect with others in your industry, especially for writers, as we are not conditioned to interact with the humans on a daily basis. Networking allows you to benefit from the wisdom of colleagues who have been through the trial and errors you're about to embark on. You can also meet industry professionals who can give you a helping hand to achieve your career goals. But I think, most importantly, it allows you to help emerging writers on their journey to publication -- that can be so rewarding.
And yet. I attend conferences, workshops, seminars, and I simply can not go up and speak to someone unless they speak to me first. I always convince myself I'm just bothering people.

Lucky for me I have the internet. You can approach people you don't know at all, converse, ask for favours, joke around, and all without ever having to look them in the eye!
But I would like to improve my networking skills, so, I've decided to create a networking opportunity to encourage introverts to connect with other writers, face to face, without the need for even a tiny bit of courage! I'm coordinating the Rainforest Writing Retreat - a two day retreat set in the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland (for our Aussie writers). We'll have writing masterclasses with expert presenters and publishing advice. But more than that, we'll be taking part in planned networking activities.
Ever purchase hundreds of contact cards, but were too afraid to hand them out? One of our activities will have everyone swapping cards, you'll actually have a list of names that you must tick off as you collect their card. We'll also have 'get to know you' games, chat sessions and everyone teams up with a roomie for the twin-share accommodation.

So, if you've wanted to attend an event that meets your dreams--don't wait for it to appear, create your own!

My retreat:

130 comments:

  1. I've written about this myself... I am less insecure about writing (though I certainly am that) than I am about calling myself a writer in front of other people. This is a great post! Thanks.

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  2. This sounds like a wonderful get-away.
    Is it open to international participants? lol
    Writer In Transit

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  3. For me too networking is a great way to connect with other writers all over the world.

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  4. You are a clever woman. This sounds amazing. Heading over to the FB link now.

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  5. Charmaine, you're a Jane-of-all-trades. Every time I turn around, you're doing something new and inspiring. I really do look to you as a role model of things that I want to do.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  6. I like your ideas kiddo. You've broken through your insecurities in this area that's for sure.

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  7. Wonderful idea. Sounds like it will be a blast.

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  8. You? Shy? I can't picture it. Good luck with the retreat.

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  9. Good luck with the retreat, and yes, I like your ideas.

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  10. Networking is always so, so hard. I agree, it's a little easier to do online, but I'm so introverted that it still makes me apprehensive, heh. Good luck with the retreat!

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  11. I'm actually a rather social person, but I hate talking about myself, which really doesn't help much with the promotion part. Most of my friends don't even know I've written a book, let alone three.

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  12. I love this attitude. I hate networking. I'm horrible at it. I can't talk to anyone to save my life. =) I gotta create something like this.

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  13. Yes, thank goodness for the internet You're way braver than I - look at all those workshops and things you go to. (I hide online behind my avatar.) You're an inspiration! :-)

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  14. Very true for a lot of us. Just so hard to intrude on other people (here in England it's practically a crime). Very impressed at the steps you'e taking to deal with this issue.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  15. Hi, Charmaine,

    What a FANTASTIC IDEA….. I wish I lived there with you and Denise. DAMN these thousands of miles that get in the way.

    I hope it's a wonderful time and a great success!

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  16. Happy IWSG, Charmaine
    This is an awesome idea! If only I were down under!

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  17. At the first conference I went to, I brought business cards and only gave out one. I felt too awkward to give them out. The internet makes it much easier to meet people and interact without feeling awkward.

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  18. That's a great way to get people to interact. You're right that it's so much easier online.

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  19. I also like networking as you are connected with your buddies as well as others to.

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  20. Everything looks great

    Happy Blitz Day

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  21. That sounds like an awesome retreat. I'm also one who finds it much easier to interact virtually vs, in person.

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  22. This sounds amazing! I'm in Western Australia and would love to attend ... some year. I don't know if I can make next year as I am really trying hard to achieve some financial goals in quick time. But if you do this again in 2015 maybe I will be up for it?? :)

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  23. Wow this sounds great, sadly I'm the other side of the world so unable to attend. Great to meet you today though through the power of the internet.

    Happy Blitz Day to you!

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  24. What a great idea, I love the tick list for the card swapping thing. At the moment the internet is my main outlet for networking with writers and it's invaluable. And thanks to this wonderful entity I have found you!

    Happy Blog Blitz Day!!!

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  25. I'm much more introverted than extroverted and being an expat living in France has made it worse. But I like your take on trying to improve your networking skills and if I lived in Australia, I'd definitely want to attend The Rainforest Writing Retreat, it sounds amazing. (:

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  26. Your retreat sounds brilliant. I am just a bit too far away.

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  27. I know I commented on this post a while ago but I'm back to wish you a very happy blitz day! Enjoy!

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  28. Now that is what I call a writing retreat! Oh how I wish I could afford something like that. Kudo's to you for organizing it.

    Oh...BTW...in case you haven't guessed...you're being BLITZED! :)

    We are also targeting C.M. Brown today at http://cmbrown-books.blogspot.com.au/ if you want to stop by.

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  29. I started back when the Internet wasn't such a major force and you just have to learn to approach people no matter what.

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  30. This sounds like the perfect retreat for me, as I am hesitant about exposure! By the way Happy Blitz Day!

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  31. Sounds like a wonderful idea and a great thing to do. Happy Blitz Day!

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  32. Wow! Your retreat sounds wonderful.

    Happy Blog Blitz Day!

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  33. What an awesome retreat! I'm one of those people that bought the cards and never handed them out. I'm extremely grateful for the internet too. :) Happy blitz day!

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  34. What a great idea! I love the safety of hiding behind my computer, and behind my much bolder, braver online persona! Networking in person is terrifying, and I often find myself dropping out of these kind of events at the last minute, because I'm just too scared. Shame I live on the other side of the world! Happy Blitz Day!

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  35. Happy Blitz Day - enjoy the attention!

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  36. What a cute site, Charmaine! Happy Blitz Day!

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  37. From introvert to master writing conference hostess! What a wonderful transformation!
    Happy Blitz Day!!

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  38. Oh, how I'd love to go!!! What a great idea to build in the social networking in an easy, non-intimidating way. I've never attended a writing conference---one reason being money and the other being the intimidating social aspects.

    I'm glad D.L.'s blitz led me here. :)

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  39. That event is such a fantastic idea! I love it! I am sure you will have a great success with it, but even if the first one starts out slower than you hoped... don't let any insecurities get you down. Keep at it--I have a feeling it will really speak to a lot of people, but many of them might hold off on jumping in at first. Best of luck to you...and PS I love these puffy little clouds, too. --faith@pentozen.com

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  40. I hope your networking pays dividends! Happy blitz day :)

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  41. Enjoy your blitz day!

    Sounds like a fantastic idea! I wish I could join you, especially in that beautiful country of yours.

    I've struggled with this same insecurity. It's hard to break out of that shell when you've been trapped inside for so long.

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  42. Happy blitz day! I love the idea of a writing retreat. Wish I could join you in Australia!

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  43. I'm an introvert, too! Thank you for sharing! Good luck to the both of us and happy blitz day!

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  44. I wish Australia wasn't half a world away, I'd love to go. Happy Blitz Day!

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  45. Happy Blitz Day! And I'm also an introvert, I find networking very difficult but blogging has helped tremendously.

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  46. Hope your Blitz Day is working out for you!

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  47. Hi, Charmaine! The Rainforest Writing Retreat sounds AWESOME!

    HAPPY BLITZ DAY!!

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  48. Happy blitz day!!
    I'm lucky enough to be pretty extroverted, so if I'm at a conference or something by myself, I'm typically pretty good at just scoping the scene until I find someone who looks like I can talk with

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  49. Can so relate to being shy at conferences and having an easier time networking over the Internet. Happy Blitz Day!

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  50. Happy Blitz Day! I SO wish I could attend your conference!! That sounds like a positively wonderful experience :)

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  51. This is an amazing idea. I find it hard to network myself so I understand. Happy Blitz Day.

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  52. I attend conferences, too, and have to stop myself from hiding in my hotel room . . .

    Happy Blitz.

    ~MPL
    PepperWords

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  53. Happy Blitz Day!
    My favorite part of networking is connecting to other writers. I'm terrible about handing out my business cards too.

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  54. Hello, Charmaine! It's pretty cool what writers and other artists can do with networking now that we have the internet and social media. Happy Blitz Day!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  55. Oh man, I wish I could go to that retreat, looks amazing! Jealous!

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  56. Happy Blitz Day, Charmaine! I don't do well socially, so I'd be the same way at a conference or workshop. Your retreat sounds wonderful. I wish there was a retreat like that in Florida. lol

    Happy Holidays!

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  57. I am the same way when it comes to networking! I'm so afraid to go up and talk to people, even if they expect it! I think your retreat sounds wonderful! I'll have to look out for something like that here. Happy Blitz!

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  58. Lots of good points here. Networking is not my strength! Happy Blitz day!

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  59. I would like a personal response on my site after you get to chatting up all of these "Happy Blog Blitz" response... I will be waiting.... :)

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    1. Dude, it's give to give, not give to receive...I mean, unless you're an agent or editor wanting to make her rich and famous or something when she posts on your blog.

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  60. If it wasn't for the Internet I would not be connecting nearly as much, I'm intimidated by the industry professionals as well. Happy Blitz Day!

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  61. Hey! I'm sorry you feel shy about talking to people first at conferences, but I totally understand. Anyway, if you ever see an adult-ass woman acting like a little kid at a conference, that might be me, and you're totally not bothering me if you come talk to me first. = ) Hey, something inspires you to write, and that same gift of communication can totally spill out into your networking--perfect love drives out fear! (That's a verse from John, I think?) And if you totally, totally love your writing, and other people's writing, and just OH MY GOSH WRITING I think networking gets easier.

    Just mah two cents. Thanks for your post!
    #happyblitzday

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  62. Wow, I wish I lived in Australia. I'm a total extrovert (yes, unusual for a writer but I was a teacher, too so I kinda had to become one) Your plans sound amazing, and effective. I wish you all the best with that, and congrats on your BLITZ DAY! Nice to meet you.
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  63. Loved your post- you aren't alone! Happy blitz day:)

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  64. I'm such an introvert. I think I wouldn't have a "network" if it was not for the internet, especially twitter. Happy Blitz Day!

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  65. I always fear bothering people, too, but am starting to get over it. I actually do better among other writers socially than in a room of regular people. lol Writers, I know we have writing in common.

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  66. I am by nature shy. I hate tooting my own horn -- it always sounds louder when someone else toots it! Networking is hard for me as my sales prove! :-) The merriest of Christmases!! :-)

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  67. I'm also an introvert, and I completel understand. Hope you're having a great Blitz Day!

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  68. Happy blitz day!!! I am also an introvert. I don't mind other people in small groups, but when it's a big room, that really intimidates me!

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  69. Great idea :) I've talked to a lot of authors who were afraid to friend or contact people :) Maybe this can help them :) Happy Blitz day :) I'm now following your blog too :)

    Cassandra

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  70. That's one of my favourite things about the internet - you can communicate with people without the crippling terror associated with actually talking to someone face to face! It's so much easier :)
    Happy Blog Blitz!

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  71. Networking is important. Happy Blitz Day!

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  72. The retreat you're planning is a wonderful idea! Good luck and happy blitz day!

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  73. Hi, I live in the US. Sounds like a great retreat though. ;) Happy Blitz day.

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

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  74. I like the card swapping. I often feel shy about offering mine.

    And Happy Blitz Day.

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  75. For my first writing conference I brought a hundred business cards and I handed out two:)

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  76. I love your networking plan! Happy Blitz day!

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  77. Even online networking scares me, since I always feel this pressure to be funny or otherwise useful, and I think my biggest fear is that I'm only wasting people's time (hence not wanting to go out of my comfort zone to approach people). Sigh. I think I should try to get over that!

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  78. That is a GREAT idea!! Happy Blitz Day!

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  79. Ooooh, I want to "go to there"! This sounds like it is going to be a wonderful experience. I would try to organize one here, but I don't think I'm brave enough to attempt it yet! Enjoy the Blitz!

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  80. Another double bonus. Stopped by for the Blitz and came upon this great idea. Now if only I could swim that far. Seriously though, the idea of organizing one locally is some great incentive. I'll have to think on that. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoy your Blitz Day!

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  81. I also have issues with networking. I feel awkward walking up to someone and starting a conversation out of nowhere.

    Your idea is brilliant!

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  82. Your conference sounds fantastic! Too bad it'd be such a long commute for me...

    Happy blitz day! Enjoy.

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  83. Your conference sounds wonderful! I much prefer networking online too.
    Happy Blitz Day!!!

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  84. What?! Why, you sneaky little...
    LOVE you guys! Put a huge smile on my dial today :)

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  85. What a great idea. Way to put yourself out there. Happy Blitz Day!

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  86. Conferences are fun, although I'd suggest going with another writer, not hubby, as I made the mistake of doing.

    Happy Holidays including the Blitz!

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  87. Sounds awesome. Yet another great reason to head to your country. :)

    BAZINGA!! You've been blitzed!

    Have a great day. Heather

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  88. I'm introverted, too, but I've found I love interacting with other authors online. Twitter is great for that.

    Happy blitz day and happy holidays! :)

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  89. "I always convince myself I'm just bothering people." <--I do this ALL the time. If it weren't for the internet, I'd probably never talk to anyone.

    Hello from the Blitz!

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  90. happy blitz day and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

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  91. Happy Blitz Day! Interacting with other authors online really helps, since writing is such a solitary occupation!

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  92. That last shot is such a beautiful picture. Talk about inspiring surroundings! It sounds a like a great idea for networking, Charmaine.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  93. Looks like I needed to read this! Yes networking a plague for some parts of my brain!
    Happy blog blitz day!

    With great respect! A.

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  94. Hi, Charmaine! Your blog looks to be fun and informative. Happy Blitz Day!

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  95. Hi! Happy blitz day :) A retreat in the rainforest sounds lovely, shame it's the other side of the world!
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
    xx

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  96. I hope you enjoy your writing retreat and your Blitz Day! :)

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  97. "Ever purchase hundreds of contact cards, but were too afraid to hand them out?" Someone told on me, didn't they? ;-) Great topic and a fabulous idea. Enjoy your blitz!

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  98. Your retreat looks awesome! Happy Blitz. :)

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  99. The first time I went to a conference I was scared to death because I was going alone - it was in a different city so I knew I wouldn't know a soul. Amazingly enough, I not only survived, I had FUN! Easiest opening line, "So what's your book about?"

    Happy Holidays & Happy Blitz!!!

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  100. I have a hard time going up to people first too! Sounds like a fun retreat. Happy Blitz Day!

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  101. I can't wait to go to my first writing conference. Hopefully it will be soon! Have a happy holiday and Happy Blog Blitz Day to you! Lily

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  102. Great idea for a conference. Happy blitz day

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  103. That looks pretty freaking fantastic to me. #TeamIntrovert Happy Blitz Day!

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  104. I think that sounds wonderful! I'd love to come, but I don't even own a passport. Happy belated Blitz Day!

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  105. Enjoy your free time to write! Happy Blitzer day. Sorry I'm late today!

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  106. Sounds like a good plan! Happy Blitz Day! :)

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  107. It's so much easier to approach people on the internet. Happy blitz day.

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  108. You'll have to let us know how your conference went!

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  109. What an amazing idea for a retreat. Wish I was a little closer to Australia. I tend toward the shy side at times. Though I've gotten better with time.

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  110. Sounds like a great idea! I'm pretty shy about approaching people too.

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  111. It can be easier for sure. Happy blitzday.

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  112. Charmaine, what a very cool idea. Australia is on my bucket list. Happy Blitz Day! :-)

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  113. Way to be pro active in getting the networking going for your needs Charmaine. I wish you good luck.

    .........dhole

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  114. Such a great idea! Even as an introvert, I love to meet folks at writing conferences, as we all have something in common!

    ~Debbie

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  115. What a great idea, and even not that far from me (I'm in Brissy). Good luck with it.

    I do find networking online far easier than in person! Most of my friends don't even know I write books!

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  116. Awesome! I hope this retreat is a smashing success!

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  117. I like the idea of going into a room with a bunch of cards and throwing them in the air yelling "Surprise!"

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  118. It's closer to my nightmares, but then I'm at the extreme end of the introversion scale. I picked a job where I barely have to leave my house for a reason.

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