I have worked in several industries–the coffee industry, the funeral industry, the financial industry. Each of them has had their own specific things you needed to do to really break into them, like joining associations or networking with industry professionals. Since I actually wrote content for magazines for the first two listed industries, being involved and relevant in the industry was incredibly important. So I started really thinking about this in terms of how to get involved and stay relevant in the writing industry. In some ways, it’s no different than any other industry I have worked in–but in others, it is an entirely different beast. A lovely, rewarding, fun and beautiful beast. Today’s List of Five involves ways to get involved in the writing industry and, while absolutely not comprehensive or all-encompassing, is a good start!
1. Write or read every day.
I put this one first because I don’t think it’s a reasonable expectation to be involved in the writing industry if you’re not participating in it in some way shape or form. Sometimes writing just doesn’t happen but it’s easy to always make sure something is happening on a daily basis, whether it’s reading a chapter, checking out blog posts on writing, writing a paragraph or what have you. I think not trying to do something that involves writing or reading on a near daily basis will cause a disconnect between yourself and the industry in which you’re wanting to be involved.
2. Join the social media conversation.
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter–these are all great resources for connecting with authors, writers, readers and more. Twitter is my favorite one because it’s so easy to reach everyone at the same time through the use of hashtags.
3. Go to conferences and workshops.
This is one I haven’t been able to get into yet just because of limited time and resources available but one that I think is imperative in terms of wanting to write professionally. These are great for learning opportunities and also networking. Agents can be vastly more accessible at conferences, too, so if you’re at the point of wanting to shop your manuscript, going to conferences is an excellent avenue. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a great resource for finding these events.
4. Join a writing or critique group.
This one has been an extremely important stepping stone for me. They’re good for helping you grow as a writer and as a critical reader but, more importantly, a good writing or critique group holds you accountable. To me, that’s the most important thing I have ever gotten in my journey toward being a professional writer.
5. Be persistent and consistent.
Easily the most difficult step for me considering how OOH SHINY I am minute by minute, this is also easily the most important. It takes persistence and consistency to stay relevant, involved and heard among a sea of voices. The writing industry is not an easy one to break and stay into but it’s possible as long as you’re just constantly staying involved and open and undeterred by momentary setbacks!
How do you guys stay involved in the writing industry?
BONUS: Since I won’t be posting another List of Five before the New Year, I wanted to share this little list, too, which is not at all by my own creation. List of Gifts for Writers and Bibliophiles from Buzzfeed. If anyone I know is reading this, you now have my Christmas List!