Calling All Word Nerds!

I’m excited to share that I’ll be appearing tomorrow night at 8 EDT as part of Brazen Careerist’s Network Roulette Event. Tomorrows event focuses on Word Nerds–professionals making a living from words. There are some awesome folks who have pledged to attend as experts (yours truly included) and I highly recommend you sign up.

If you’d like to check out who will be there and our creds, we’re all listed on the Word Nerd sign up page.

Jason, over at Brazen Careerist also interviewed all of us for a fantastic post on Five Tips for Aspiring Writers, that gives you a pretty good preview of the kinds of info you can expect to find if you attend the event.

He sent over some kick-butt questions when preparing the post, but since he had so many experts so little space, he only got in a quote or two from each of us. So I though I’d share the rest of my tips here.

Jason: What is the importance of networking in your career?

Me: Networking plays a crucial role in every career; the relationships I developed while earning my Masters in Publishing have connected me with some of the most influential people in publishing today. But networking has also played a bigger role in my career — without the national networking I’ve managing to do online, Moxy would never have gotten off the ground. My network played a crucial role in launching the magazine and continues to play an important part in running it month-to-month.

Jason: What is one networking tip you would give aspiring writing professionals?

Me: There are two pieces of advice I’d offer aspiring writing professionals–first, if you’re still a student, take advantage of it. Volunteer to work free at publishing industry trade shows in exchange for the chance to meet and greet top pros in the field. Often, these types of events are more than happy to have extra hands day-of to check badges and give out directions, and will let you sit in on conference seminars.
Second, be aware that anywhere you write anything there may be editors lurking. And know that sometimes working with them on something completely unrelated can be a great way to find yourself with writing assignments. I just recently helped two contacts land writing gigs at a magazine I work with because the editor mentioned he was looking for new freelancers to freshen up his “freelancer stable.” Make genuine connections and be nice; worry later about how/if they can help you.

Jason: What is the biggest mistake you’ve seen/experienced while networking?

Me: The biggest mistake I’ve seen writing professionals make has to do with referrals. Early in my career I was excited about the potential of leveraging my network to help out other professionals–so much so that I recommended a few folks that didn’t follow through and wound up being a bad fit for the job I was recommending them for. Don’t make that mistake–only refer those that you KNOW you can put your full vote of confidence behind; and if you’re on the receiving end of a referral, take that as what it is–an endorsement from that person–and make sure you follow through. They put themselves on the line for you. Don’t leave them hanging… and be sure to thank them for their support, even if you don’t end up with the job.

[Image courtesy of Flickr.com user Fenchurch!]

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