It seems like most of the writers I know are warm and willing to share and help other writers. Maybe this isn’t true of all writers or maybe I hang with a strange crowd, but it’s been my experience that writers are the kind of people who look back and extend a hand as they climb the ladder.
Networking and meeting new people are reasons why I like to go to conferences and workshops. It’s great fun to meet published writers and hear their stories and news. It’s also great to meet unpublished writers and find out about their manuscripts and struggles to get published. If you go to a conference and your main goal is to meet the agents and editors there and pitch your book, that’s fine. But don’t forget about the other attendees or speakers. You can learn a lot from them, and they most often are willing to talk and network.
You can also network with authors in your local area. Go to signings and readings. Get to know people. Make friends.
What brought this up is that yesterday I had lunch with a friend, Patricia Saunders. We’re both freelance editors and we both do classes and workshops. Hearing that, you may think we would be competitors, not friends. But … you’d be wrong. Just like writers can be friends, so can editors. You might be surprised to learn that we talked about classes and workshops we’re doing – Patricia will be speaking at the East Texas Baptist University Christian Writers Conference, June 1-2 – and even some of our clients (all good comments, of course). We shared ideas. We even discussed the possibility of the two of us getting together to teach a workshop or class.
I think it’s important to make friends and learn from each other. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking to writers you’ve just met, authors or speakers at a conference, your own critique group partners, or people who write in a genre you hate, you’re not in competition with them. You’ll learn, experience and enjoy things a lot more if your mind is open.
4 months ago