This Writer is Attempting to Step Away from the Keyboard

Typewriter. Close up on old keys. Image courtesy of stock.xchng®This blog post is brought to you by the writing prompt just like in the movies.

I don’t usually use writing prompts, but I signed up to receive them daily this month, just to see if it fueled writing ideas. Apparently, it has. When I read today’s prompt, I couldn’t help but think about the stereotype of writers.

In movies, writers are often portrayed as rebellious, hard drinking, reclusive, obsessive, eccentric and even mad. The copywriters in films tend to be fast-talking, sales-oriented and quick with the pitch. Although copywriting pays my bills—and I enjoy it—I find myself relating more to the stereotype of the writer.

When I was in my early teens, I was at a dinner with extended family to celebrate the birthday of my grandmother’s sister “Aunt G.” I loved Aunt G’s humor and envied her ability to talk a thousand miles a minute. As she read the birthday card I’d written just for her, she called down the table in her thick Cajun accent.

“Girl,” she said. “You might be quiet, but put a pen in your hand, and you’re mighty.”

Or it was something like that.

I do love interacting with people, but I find that I tend to be quiet in a group of people. While I admire people who see a group of 50 and are energized by the thought of meeting every single one of them, I scour the crowd for someone who looks interesting—and approachable.

Which means I’ll learn that person’s story and make a good connection, but that’s probably the only connection I’ll make. Of course, one person can make a difference: they could connect you to a new client, offer a key piece of advice or become a great friend. But, if I attend one networking event each month, that’s not going to get me very far!

Last month, I revised my bio and portfolio, sharing the progress and results with you. This month, I’m researching different local networking groups and opportunities. And I’m going to going attend them, which means you’ll be reading my experiences and the tips I learn along the way. Since the majority of my copywriting clients are in Seattle or on the West Coast, I’ve just started to learn more about the local Denver business community.

This writer is going to try to channel that outgoing, social copywriter. You know, just like in the movies.

Your turn. Do you find it’s harder to network in-person than online? Do you have any networking tips to share with your fellow writers and readers? What’s your favorite way to connect with new people? Please share in the comment below.

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10 thoughts on “This Writer is Attempting to Step Away from the Keyboard

  1. I must stay away from your page. Everytime I visit, I read your writing, click a few links, click a few more, and next thing I know, I’ve spent two hours reading various blogs, articles and what-nots.

    Thanks, keep it up.

  2. I’m in a slightly remote area, so I couldn’t do much “in-the-flesh” networking, even if I wanted to. (I found my main client 9 years ago through POT personal marketing.) My life as a freelance single dad is pretty full and I don’t really care for more social interaction. Right now, I find social networking totally fascinating, and for the moment I’m less into business development than into sharing ideas and getting a better idea of what’s out there, “in the grand beyond”, in terms of opinions. Of course, I sometimes get more than I bargained for….

  3. Hi Niamh ~ You have a great point. It wouldn’t be good for someone to actually think you’re interviewing them!

    Hi Laura ~ I do agree that the relations that start face-to-face are deeper. That’s one reason so many of my clients are in Seattle. That’s where I personally met many of them! Now I just have to do the same in Denver – I’m going to try online and in-person networking. Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. Hi Jesaka!

    I think networking in person IS a lot harder than networking online for the simple reason (not withstanding social anxieties) that you can’t reach quite as many people in person as you can online. Even in a good meeting you may only be able to network with a handful of people.

    On the other hand, I’ve found that many of the relationships that started with face-to-face networking have been deeper and lasted longer.

  5. Networking can be scary – but like Steph I just keep asking questions. Finding the balance between inserting bits about your business with letting other people talk is crucial!

  6. You have a gift with perspective, Steph! And humor. Thank you for the laugh and the spot-on tips. I’m thinking about writing “pretend you’re interviewing” on a card and slipping it in my wallet as a reminder. Though, knowing my luck, I’d go to get a business card and that reminder would fall out on the floor! In all seriousness, thank you for sharing your own experience with networking. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  7. Oh Jesaka…let’s just say that my social anxiety is so bad, my shrink’s suggested both booze and pot.

    On top of the Xanax I’m already taking.

    If it wasn’t for wine+meds (I’m not the smoking type), I’d probably end up in a corner at every networking event, quietly sobbing into my empty glass, having a succession of panic attacks. Sometimes — even with the wine+meds — I still have the panic attacks.

    So, of course, I much prefer remaining safely in front of my computer, taking over the world one tweet at a time.

    My suggestions?

    Xanax and copious amounts of wine.


    Keep reminding yourself that 1) You’re awesome, and 2) The other people in attendance are probably just as nervous as you, and would probably hug you with relief if you started up a conversation with them.

    Oh! And:

    Conversation will become much easier if you pretend you’re interviewing people for a story. Just keep asking them about themselves! They’ll love it!

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