Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The 6 Ps of Networking

{This is from an article I had in The Fabulist Flash a few years ago, and which I also updated and published at Rose & Thorn Literary E-zine.}

Writers know the importance of networking, and blogging can be a big part of that. But if you're also working outside the writing arena, say, like in a part- or full time "regular" job, and maybe even have a kid or two thrown into the mix, you really know the value of making contacts and working with like minded people. If nothing else, it keeps you from going bonkers.

Since I'm one of those busy mom writers, my brain cells are at dangerously low levels and my time is stretched to the max. Networking helps me to maximize my writing productivity, it's easy and fun.

I know the principles of networking are sound because I've co-authored three inspirational books, had a joint humor/advice column with my twin sister, participate in two blogs with other writers, have facilitated writers groups, and worked on many joint projects.

By joining live and/or cyber groups and subscribing to e-zines, we increase our exposure to the job market and to fellow writers and their experiences. Exchanging submission call outs and opportunities is another benefit of group membership.

The 6Ps which help me stay on track with writing?
  1. Patience - The bad news first. Our personal writing Rome won't be built in a day or even a year. Be prepared for lots of hard work and a heavy dose of patience while paying writing dues. Working with another person or group requires a little extra thought and is one of the reasons patience is a virtue. It's hard as hell to have it, hold onto it, and trust in it. But it yields results.

  2. Persistence - We've heard the inspirational quotes, now it's time to believe them. "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.'" ~ Calvin Coolidge. "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." ~ Thomas Edison. When your energy or motivation flags, someone in your writing network can shore you up and put you back on the path.

  3. Partnerships - Here's a personal quote: "Nothing worth doing is done alone." Never underestimate the power of your partnerships and the fun and inspiration to be had.

  4. Prayer (or if you prefer, Positive Thinking) - Prayer power has been my most reliable weapon in the battle to get published. Grabbing opportunities offered me; I've cleaned houses (flexible and good cash), gotten regular column gigs, and private investigation jobs. All these I juggled with freelancing for a decent paycheck, and all required that I work with others in the process.

  5. Playing the Field - Diversify your goals. Write your novel, but keep your writing fresh by trying your hand at articles, working for start up publications, crafting short stories/poetry or whatever. Who knows where these avenues will lead? By playing the writing field, you increase your chances of catching an editor's eye. You build your clip file. You gain experience. And again, you build your network.
    Are there contests you might enter? So what if you don't win? You have a finished product to edit and submit elsewhere. I'm a deadline-pressure-in-order-to-get-moving kind of writer, so contest deadlines help me produce.

  6. Perception - See things differently, look outside conventions and boxes. To increase your writing and publishing scores, try to be different. Look for opportunities others overlook. If you see an ad for an freelance article writer for a new publication and it's full of typos or bad grammar, offer your editing services. Think of creative ways to advertise your services. Partner up with others to decrease advertising expenses.

And an extra "P" while I'm thinking about it: Plant your writing seeds wisely and tend them afterward. Always thank those who've helped you along the writing road, and lend a hand when you can. Little kindnesses are appreciated, they come back to you in multiple, and they leave your name with a good connotation in others' minds.

Can you think of any Ps that help you in your writing journey? If not a P, any letter will do.


tut-tut said...

A worthy list and something to keep front and center.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thank you, blog friend.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Power - as in not giving your power away, but staying strong.

Peace, as in making peace with yourself over the idea some things just aren't going to work out as you want them to, so you find another way for them to work out!

Joanne said...

Prioritize. Because we write from home, it's easy to not give writing the priority of a job. You wouldn't call a boss and say you're not coming in b/c you have cleaning/laundry/cooking. You shouldn't not show up to write for those reasons, either. After Prioritize comes Delegate! ;)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Ooo, Kat, power to the peeps! Good ones.

And, Joanne, those are excellent additions as well. Who knew there were so many writing Ps? (Now I'm picturing a bag of frozen peas with all these little nuggets of wisdom stamped on them. LOL)

Janna Qualman said...

Very nice! I particularly appreciated (and need to better implement) Playing the Field. Thanks for the great thoughts.

I wish I'd put Prayer on my list of "What It Takes." I did have Positive Thinking, but can think of some relevant differences between the two.

Janna Qualman said...

*snicker* Where can I get a bag o' those frozen peas? ;)

Terri Tiffany said...

I loved this article! I can see why it was published:)
"By playing the writing field, you increase your chances of catching an editor's eye. You build your clip file. You gain experience. And again, you build your network."
This phrase was my favorite and the advice I have always held to. I know many people who have only written a book with no other clips-- you learn so much writing for other avenues. Thanks Angie-- good one!! (were you really a PI?)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Janna, you're playing well in the "game." Batter up!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thanks, Terri. Maybe I'll do an "R" list one day so I can include "Recycle." Like this writing article, if you renew, update resources and such, it's "new" all over again instead of a reprint. ;)

Yep, I really had a PI license for a few years. Was good part time work around my kiddies, but I stopped doing it when a big portion of it involved staking out barrooms and late night venues for divorce cases. Ug. I've done every job there is just about....nursery school teacher, Special Ed elem., religion teacher, catering, cooking from my own home, cleaning biz, secretarial, print shop while going to college, legal sec, ethnography, name it.

Melissa Marsh said...

Excellent post, Angie. In fact, I think I need to do one of these 'p' words - playing the field. I need to be more open to writing different things instead of staying in my "comfort" zone.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Great advice! Thanks for posting--and for visiting. :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thank you, Alyssa. Enjoyed browsing your blog.

The Paper Whisperer said...

P as in POT O'COFFEE, P as in potty breaks, and P as in Proud as a P-cock!

Jam on it! And by the way...what have happened to your Saints, girly girl? There's another P for ya...Peeeeeee Yewwwww!! Go Bronco's! hahahahaha

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thanks for those PEARLS of writerly wisdom, PW! (And...don't get me started on the B's your Broncs represent!) ;)

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Thanks for some needed inspiration!

Angie Ledbetter said...

BJKD, glad you liked!

colbymarshall said...

Party. Because you have to enjoy your successes; there are so many ups and downs in this business that you have to relish the highs while they last to fortify you through the lows to get back to high again.

Anonymous said...

My favorite "P" is Pay attention. I have learned a lot by watching and listening. Oh, and ask PW if she is watching the team in purple and gold. That is our real football team.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Good one, Colby. You're so right.

Oren, I'll ask PW to follow your advice and Pay attention to the Purple (& gold). ;)

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