Writing feels like the loneliest job. The phrase in the industry: “Writing is a solitary affair.” But the reality is, nothing could be further from the truth. Writing feels solitary, but requires a community to accomplish anything, whether you are freelancing for a living or trying to get that novel published.
My own journey started with a helping hand when it came to creative writing. After talking to her about appearing as a guest on my show, “Just Joshing,” Ellen Datlow was kind enough to point me out to a freelance resource website. She didn’t have to do that. It opened doors to me finding various paying anthology and magazine markets I never knew existed. I’ve made it a point to help others find the direction they are going for in the industry.
Another misconception about the writing business is that we’re fighting each other over precious few positions. As a freelancer, I can assure you there is a ton of work out there in a lot of different markets. Not only that, not every freelancer writes the same things. We all have specialties. And, yes, it’s true we can grow from those, but very often the writer who writes about writing is not the same writer who is writing about finances, or technology, or thousands of other topics. We all have different niches we are good at. I write about writing, and I review books, and do interviews.
But, let’s say I meet someone that’s doing the same thing? So what? It’s not like we’ll tell the same story.
“You can give a writer the same concept, and each and every one of us will find different details,” PJ Vernon, author of Bath Haus, remarked to me on a recent podcast. He’s right. It’s your voice that helps you stand out, not necessarily your content. Fellow writers shouldn’t be considered competition. They should be considered friends and resources to help you with your career.
It’s Who You Know
Networking comes with negative connotations, but the truth is, we all do it. Friends, co-workers, and others all interact with people who know people who are looking for work. Human beings tend to want to work with people we are comfortable with. It’s human nature. In that regard, networking makes a ton of sense. People will go out of their way to help you when you show the same willingness to help others. It opens doors you never expect in both freelancing and publishing. My own career has been an example of this.
Karina Kantas, author of Stone Cold, talks about how her writing group helped her get into publishing: “I was in a group where we offered services to each other for points. Then, the points could be spent on something you needed. I know the expense of getting a novel polished and published. If it wasn’t for this small group. I wouldn’t have a professional edited manuscript. I wouldn’t have had amazing award-winning covers. In return, I designed graphics, created book trailers, and helped with blubs, and marketing their books.”
Thank You For Being a Friend
The other big benefit of working others in the writing industry is the support. Writing is a hard business. You get rejected constantly and, no matter how much you believe in yourself, sometimes you need some encouragement. Sometimes, we all need to hear the words, “You can do this.”
Rebekkah Raymond, author of Life’s Defeat, is thankful for her community. “They’ve encouraged me to read my work aloud, and given me honest critiques (because even bad critiques can be worth their weight in gold). They have sympathized when I couldn’t write another word, and held me up when I finally did.”
It’s always better to go forward with a dream when you realize you’re not alone. Writing is not the solitary process we think it is. I, for one, have had a ton of help with my own communities putting this together. It reminds me that, even when it feels like it, no one is truly alone.
- Networking and “Subtle Promotion” on LinkedIn! By Elizabeth Armenta (WriterLiz, LLC)
- Networking Techniques That Work Fast and Pay Off Big! By David Geer
- Learn to Network — and Double or Triple Your Sales! By Bob Freiday, author of 10 Golden Rules of Freelance Writing and How I Broke Them (How to Break the Rules and Make It as a Magazine Writer)
- Warm and Fuzzy Networking Can Lead to Paying Writing Assignments! by Haneef Davenport
- A Local BBQ Leads To Freelance Work! Social Networking The Old Fashioned Way… By Rachel Gerner
Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff, podcasts and dabbles in illustration. He has written 5 books and articles for places like Anime Herald and First Comics News. His next book, Lights Out is coming out April or May this year. He does a podcast called Just Joshing and it airs 5 days a week in which he interviews creatives about life, the universe and everything. He lives in Canada and is working on drawing a comic. His website is: https://jpantalleresco.wordpress.com
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