• Developing a Writer Network

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Strategies     Comments 2 comments

    When I attended the Agents & Editors Conference in Austin, we were served lunch in a large ballroom with about 40 tables, 8 to 10 people at each.  The room was filled with the noise of conversations.  Our table was a buzz of chatter.  I mentioned this to the person next to me who said, “We’re all writers, and we probably all write by ourselves at home.  It’s nice to have someone to talk to.”  We laughed, because we knew her comment was so true.

    But if we’re all sitting at home writing, how do we find each other to connect, share insights, or just validate the writing experience?

    My first experience with networking was in that conference in Austin.  I thought initially I was going to learn more about the industry and have an opportunity to pitch my manuscript to a literary agent.  I began to realize that connecting with other writers was equally important.  I got on the elevator to go down to the sponsored Happy Hour with a woman from San Diego who had attended only because her manuscript was an entry in one of the contests.  We chatted some, and I shared her joy the next morning when her manuscript won in her category.  We exchanged emails and we still keep up with each other’s progress.

    A writer’s conference is a busy period of time, and it’s tough to connect with many people.  How else can we connect with writers?  I wrote a blog post about my experience with Twitter and the writer connections I’d made.  I never would have expected it, but that medium has turned into a phenomenal connector.  I tweet with writers, then sometimes connect and message through Facebook, then we might email.  I have writers I talk to on the phone regularly, and even video chat via Skype.

    So how has it gotten so active for me, and what have I gotten from it?  Build a following on Twitter, and you’ll see how it works.  What I did was mostly about “chop wood carry water”–keep after it–instead of any magical formula.  I just kept trying to connect with people.  When someone made a nice comment about me, I sent them a tweet thanking them. If you haven’t tried Friday Follow on Twitter, you can get recommendations on who are good people to connect with, and as you follow them, you might have an intersection point with another writer.  I connect with a writer in LA, who puts me onto a writer in Australia–that sort of thing.  I have writers worldwide that I interact with–I never thought the network would extend that far.

    Connect with other writers, and a portion of them will want to interact.  I have writers I can go to for support, to review a piece I’ve written, to encourage them when they have a writing success.  I have been invited to join a writing groups–one on Facebook, and another which is a group of independent writers (self-published) who want to support each other.  I’ve developed some wonderful friendships, and stay connected almost every day through the social media, email or phone.

    “It’s nice to have someone to talk to,” and when it’s other writers who understand the journey I’m on because they are on the same path, it can be an amazing and rewarding experience.


    Lost creativity and the effects of family alcoholism are just two of the elements of the story Dan L. Hays explores in his first published book, Freedom’s Just Another Word, which chronicles events around the time of his father’s death. It is the first of a cycle of seven books about healing old wounds with his father. That cycle will culminate with Nothing Left to Lose, written in 1993, about a critical turning point in his father’s life, depicted from a perspective of forgiveness and admiration.

    Dan has been pursuing his craft for more than 25 years. His passion has always been writing, but he had a writing block that he could not understand for many years. He wrote two books that publishers were interested in, but he backed away and the books were never published.

    Read more of Dan’s work on his blog and at Life as a Human, or follow his various radio features.  You can also catch him on Twitter and Facebook.

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    Dewey D

    This was a great idea for me to try. I love talking about my stories to my friends. I just need to reach out more.

    Dan Hays

    Glad you found this helpful, Dewey! Good luck in reaching out to your friends more! :)

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x