English poet John Donne’s famous (but admittedly hackneyed) line ‘No man is an island’ can be especially apt for a writer. Networking with like-minded writers or authors who have already made it can have immense benefits, as opposed to writing in isolation.
For a long time, I kept my dream of becoming an author deeply buried within me, barely acknowledging it to my own self, leave alone to others around me. I made little headway with that approach.
Then, a couple of years ago, I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to write a book. And so, to make myself more accountable and motivated enough to write regularly, I told a few people about my dream. The technique did work, although not all the way.
Early this year, I joined two online writing groups. The depth of knowledge and give-and-take on both groups made me question my decision all those years ago to keep my dream to myself. Both groups have like-minded people, some farther ahead of me in my writing journey, some where I am right now, and some a little behind, eager to catch up or race ahead. I feel motivated every time someone from either group posts some nice little nugget of information, asks a question I know I can answer, or updates everyone about their own success.
Just last evening, a girl I first met online in the group and then met in person and who’s now a friend, messaged to say that her first book pitch had been short-listed in a competition that will be judged by a well-respected jury comprising people from the Indian book publishing industry. No matter what the outcome, I’m sure my friend is happy about her decision to join the group, since it motivated her to actually go out and put her work on display to people who matter.
So yes, networking helps. It can bring with it a bit of healthy competition that can help you get over your complacency or lethargy. And of course, it can foster a sense of community, knowing there are people who’ve faced the same kind of problems and who can offer solutions.
What’s your take on networking for a writer?