I spent much of this past work week at a personal development program which emphasized, among other things, the importance of networking. Networking — or at least networking for the sake of networking — is not something that I do naturally; in fact it kind of turns me off. But there’s a lot to be said for having a web of people you respect who are allies and even friends, and this is true in writing as well as in business. I’ve been reflecting on all this while doing some weekend decompressing. And because it’s the weekend, I’m excusing myself from presenting the following thoughts in any coherent order. Like a southern rock protagonist, this post was born to ramble.
My Writing Network
One thing I acknowledged over the course of the week is that my professional network is probably too small. However, it is strong — my connections are my friends, who I joke with in the hallways at the office and invite over to watch sports. My writing connections are similar. I don’t keep in touch with writers who visited my MFA program (despite the fact that Davy Rothbart assured me that I am one of his doggs), or who I met at the bar at AWP (disclaimer: I’ve never actually done this), but the people who I do stay connected to I really know and admire: great teachers from grad school, night classes, and high school (shout out to Mr. Briggs!); writing group members from San Diego, now spread around the country; fellow writers from my MFA program. These are people who I can send a story to for honest feedback (some of them will be getting one in their in-boxes this week), and whose updates on their writing and their lives I am truly interested in. We remember each other’s unpublished stories from over a decade ago, and take genuine pleasure in each other’s success. Continue reading