I have to rather sheepishly admit that when I read the title, I did think it was about computer networking; maybe a how-to for writers on setting up a LAN in their house. But no, this is the kind of networking where you get out once in a while and talk to people.
There’s no denying that networking is important — perhaps even vital these days — in creating a writing career. But too many people hold a narrow view of what networking is. They imagine standing around at a publisher’s party at a conference, free drink in hand, schmoozing with editors and agents, regaling them with wit and wowing them with a verbal description of their latest (planned) 300 thousand word opus. But in its purest sense, networking is simply about making connections, and you don’t have to be a mainstay of the New York publishing scene to do it effectively.
Over the past several years, I’ve learned to love networking. If people are more inclined to buy manuscripts from and offer jobs to others they know, like, and trust, doesn’t it make sense to become someone who is known, liked, and trusted? It does! Hell, just having two out of those three is good.
Mind, making small talk is something I find exhausting. That’s why I’m grateful for situations where I can talk with people about things we both care about. But, y’know, I can do small talk – for short bursts – in a pinch.