I'll be addressing the topic of networking often for this Information Exchange column in order to stress how networking can lead to paid writing jobs.
For example, two weeks ago I was talking to my writing friend, Suzy, during a holiday party. She mentioned she recently got a job to write a how-to article for an anthology geared toward women who write poetry. That book is one of three in a series of anthologies being put together by a group of editors. Suzy noted my interest and sent me an email along with a note that I should move quickly to send queries so I could get my pick of subjects. I sent a query for an essay and one for an article. Both ideas were accepted within two days.
And how did Suzy learn about the project? By talking to people and joining professional writing organizations. The common thread between her success and mine is that we both learned of opportunities by talking to people, otherwise known as networking.
I used to be horrible at networking. I thought this activity involved pumping people for information that could help me. I thought the process was about getting information. I've since learned the opposite, that it's by taking a true interest in other people — who they are, where they came from, what they're looking for — and doing your best to help them succeed that leads to friendships. Friendships are more long-lived and satisfying than just business contacts, because when you're interested in someone else's well-being, so he or she is interested in yours. Similar principles are espoused in Dale Carnegie's famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Though published in 1936, the advice given in the book is still relevant today.
Need a few more resources? Have at it. And if you have any networking stories of your own, let me know.
How to Network: For Introverts
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Women Into the Network
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