Yesterday, I spent some time at a writing conference–helping determine what opportunities are needed for writers in my area.
The conference included around 35 writers, editors, and other group leads from my area. While the number might seem small, we filled up the venue–a small store/art center in Zumbrota called Crossings at Carnegie.
The store was full of paintings, knick-knacks, and books. One painting that particularly caught my eye was of a cow with an almost freakishly-large eye. It stared at me throughout the entire conference, but it was a friendly gaze.
Any ill feelings about the cow were forgotten as I found myself drawn into conversation after conversation with writer after writer. For example:
- One of my former clients of WritAnon’s editing service told me about her current project. She also mentioned she was looking forward to sending it on to me when she felt it was ready. It’s a neat feeling to run into someone who’s grateful for your help
- Several people weren’t aware I was the new leader of the Rochester MN Writing group, so I passed out my email address to interested folks so I can send them information on the group.
- We talked about how we had so many groups, with no underlying network between them. The biggest problem that we have, as with any large group, is communicating what’s happening across the entire area.
- We found there was interest in organizing a read-a-thon (like a telethon) to try to raise money to support the arts in Minnesota. I’ll be talking with some of my contacts at the local library to see if we can organize this.
- Several folks told me about various events occurring in the area, and what typically happens at each. Benefiting from other experiences is a great advantage to networking.
- I discovered there is a need in our area for authors exploring social media, finding writing jobs online, and marketing themselves as a writer.
One of the things I like most about networking is that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to learn while you’re there. I met various folks from all areas of life–lots of retirees, a couple of editors, novelists (published and unpublished), and freelancers. Through the conversations on Saturday, I’ve opened up doors that I can use in the future to find other opportunities.
What opportunities might arise for me?
- Additional members in WritAnon’s writing forums
- Writers who use WritAnon’s editing service
- New members of the local real-world writing group
- Teaching classes or seminars on writing, social media, or marketing oneself as a writer
- Creating new opportunities for other writers through events like a read-a-thon
What opportunities have you found through networking? What opportunities might I be missing?