Writing, as many of you know, is one of the most universally lonely art forms. Don’t believe me? Just ask Emily Dickinson. Of course, if Ms. Dickinson were alive today, she’d probably be tweeting like a fool. I can see it now: I’m Nobody says: “Because I overfilled my tweets,/They stopped following me./I only need a few more marks./Like 143.”
Networking is much easier today than it was during Emily’s time. I recently attended a conference where at least a dozen people approached me to me and say they’re following my tweets and this blog. This is an “in” they may not have had before. And networking allows word to spread quickly–people asked how the new agency was going (great!), what I thought the Phillies chances were in the postseason (so-so), and if my rash had cleared up yet (not all the way, but it’s getting there). This level of connectivity wasn’t present at conferences I attended even as recently as last spring.
I’ve spoken about social networking before and won’t rehash it here, but I’m beginning to see networking pay dividends. Writers from across the country know each other personally, are sharing and improving their work in online critique groups, and are better able to find things in common with editors or agents in order to better target their work.
With the networking playing field becoming more even, what’s going to set you and your work apart? Great writing, of course! It’s a common refrain we’ll shout again and again, but for all the tools out there, the writing trumps all.
Care to share how networking has helped you thus far in your writing career? We’d love to know!