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!