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Networking as a writer is an interesting niche; how do we develop our contacts who might inspire us, mentor us, lead us to new connections that might allow us to get something published?

Some writers (many that I’ve met) are quite comfortable in their own company, enjoying the inner worlds they create and hope to share with an audience. There are others who find that solitary side a great struggle, and need to connect a lot more with others in order to survive. I can understand that; I am more naturally introverted, and can comfortably survive in my own creative bubble when I am in the zone. But I do become conscious that I am missing out on conversations, laughter, and connection.

In these times of lockdown, un-lockdown, and re-lockdown, making connections can be difficult. Poetry groups, where people present their work to appreciative audiences, can’t meet, but web cameras have given us a whole new world. Poetry comes alive when it presents itself to an audience, and I’m delighted to live in a time where lockdowns don’t shut down performance entirely.

As a writer of straight fiction (I do not possess the talent for poetry), I used to attend a writer’s group; it was positive and embracing to learn from others. But I couldn’t sustain it in the end; with work as well, I struggled finding enough time to write my stories – so I had to compromise networking with creative content. Different styles for different people.

Creativity can often be fired by being involved in situations and with people; a word or phrase can spark off a thought or the beginning of a story. I have loved being in situations where a joke has created a whole raft of content, and the book I’m currently working on came about because of a conversation I had with a friend about “what ifs” – if historical events evolved differently, what would the world look like now? Would I have come up with that idea entirely by myself? Possibly not – or certainly not as quickly and as in-depth.

Writing comes best when we are inspired, and inspiration strikes in many different ways – by what we absorb from the world around us. And getting an audience for what we create comes from hard graft and showing what we can do; every rejection is a piece of networking in a way, and persistence shows how you improve and learn from critiques.

So of course we should network; technology enhances how and when we network and develop friendships in the writing world, and in this new world we find ourselves in, that is a joy.

Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.

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