Posts Tagged Networking
The concept of writers and other home-workers pulling out laptops and working in coffee shops is familiar. It lets us escape those same boring four walls of home and all the domestic distractions. And it makes us feel part of society, even if the only person we speak to is the barista.
UK Jelly takes this a step further. Their aim is to ‘to bring home workers, freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs together in a relaxed, informal, working environment to maximise creativity and minimise the isolation that being your own boss can bring.’ It is not networking to sell yourself or your business. It’s about having some company whilst you work and maybe exchanging help and advice. At Jelly events the venue, wi-fi and parking are free, the only charge is for refreshments.
I went along to my first Jelly event last week. There were only a few of us and we had introductions and a bit of a chat before getting our laptops out to work. I deliberately didn’t connect to the free wi-fi because I wanted to do some distraction free editing. By the end of the session I’d done two hours solid work and met some new people. It beat coffee shop working because I didn’t feel guilty about taking up space for a long time with only one drink and I liked that I was part of a group. My local Jelly only meets monthly but I’ll definitely be going back in February.
Why not find out if there’s a Jelly near you?
‘Write often, to a deadline and with an audience in mind. Have something of the marketer about you.’
This was the advice of writer and broadcaster, Stuart Maconie (pictured), in his keynote address at The Writers’ Toolkit 2011, held in Birmingham last week. He went on to tell us that the mastery of words is power and we should be proud to say ‘I am a writer’.
It was a full day of panel discussions and chances to chat to other writers. I found the session on ‘Networking as a Writer’ the most interesting and I came away with several scribbled notes about how to do this (both on-line and in real life):
- Be generous – help those who can’t possibly help you. It will be remembered and what goes around comes around. Share things that might benefit others – don’t see them as your rivals.
- If it feels like networking then you’re doing it wrong or trying too hard. It should feel like a conversation, not a sales pitch.
- Don’t vent your feelings online no matter how badly you feel you’ve been treated – cyberspace is a big place and you never know who might be reading.
- Become part of the real and virtual community. Join or start reading/writing groups and classes. Do book reviews on your blog & approach other writers to ask if they’d like you to review their book.
- Don’t limit yourself to writing events – attend other types of conferences and look at different types of blogs.
- Leave intelligent comments on the blogs of others to make people curious enough to have a look at you.
- Listen to what others have to say – don’t just sell yourself all the time.
- Be genuine and approachable
The event was organised by Writing West Midlands.