Jackie Hosking Networking Column 5Fake it Till You Make It

by Jackie Hosking


What an exhilarating exercise it has been; having to come up with interesting things to write about each month. I don't mind admitting that I have found myself somewhat panicked, at times, as I opened the cupboard to find it bare. During one of these Mother Hubbard moments I rejoined an Australian based Yahoo! writers' list in the hope that the members might be able to answer some simple networking questions and thus provide me with another article.

Here's the question I asked:

I'm new on list and I was wondering if I could ask you all a question. I write a monthly column about networking for writers. Would any of you be willing to share your networking stories? Things like groups that you belong to, courses that you might have done, newsletters that you subscribe to, interesting websites etc. I'm mostly interested in Australian content but if you have found something useful overseas please do include it.

Here's the funny bit, only one person replied and I knew him both on line and in person, at least we'd met a few times at 'writerly' get-togethers. But it was his response that gave me my topic for this month's chat.

With his permission, I have summarised what he had to say:

Networking is not a Dirty Word. As a writer, I've found there are two broad applications for networking. One relates to the pragmatic, the nuts and bolts business of learning to write, of competitions, critiques and markets. The other aspect is rarely discussed but, in my humble opinion, far more important. I'm talking about 'Big N' networking, and I'm talking to 'Big W' writers.

Many years ago I found myself involved in a Network Marketing scheme. One of the keys to their system was to encourage you to 'walk the walk.' If you see yourself as a successful writer and then behave as one, you subconsciously open yourself to opportunities and influences that you may otherwise miss. As with everything else in life, a positive attitude will take you a lot further than a negative one. Create a little fantasy and run with it. Design a book jacket and see how your name will look on the spine. Hang out with other writers and discuss 'the business.' Try to find people who will challenge you.

The very process of having work rejected is a very important part of networking. You are making yourself known, and learning what is not acceptable. It's never a waste of your time, unless you chose not to learn anything from the process.

Finally, you might think that there's nothing to be gained from, say, attending a workshop on characterisation if you write non-fiction. Yet it is at events such as this that you will frequently meet people who can really help you, and more importantly, every 'writerly' activity you attend is a not-so-subtle reminder to your subconscious that you choose to be a writer.

David Reid is the secretary, along with his wife, for Geelong Writers Inc. You can visit Geelong Writers Inc at www.vicnet.net.au/~gwriters

After reading David's response I was immediately reminded of something I'd read years before - before I'd ever dared to admit I was writer. It was a chapter from a book by Richard Carlson Ph.D., titled - DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF… and it's all small stuff. Chapter 70 is headed, Remember that You Become What You Practice Most. And that is the crux of this article. You can't BE a writer until you DO a writer and you must practice every day.

Phew! That's a huge weight off my chest now I can get on with passing on some goodies that I discovered this past month. I mentioned earlier that I joined an Aussie Yahoo! list (here's the link if you are interested: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Australian_Writers_Online/  ) where I met a person whose generosity astounded me. He is an author and a programmer who enjoys writing and sharing his programmes for free - absolutely free! I am not a programmer, I am not even an author (no books yet) but I do know a good manuscript tracker when I see one.

Part of "DOING" for a writer is submitting your work to be published.

The more you submit, the harder it is to keep track of what's where. A good manuscript tracker will make this task a breeze so when I found one being offered for free, I was pretty excited. He has lots of other programmes for writers as well, all free - here's his link: http://www.spacejock.com 

Well, that's about it for this month. Your homework - find a writing workshop/event in your area and go to it - go on - DO it!

Until next time, happy doing.

Your writing buddy,




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