Creative Flow: An Event for Those Who Want to Stretch Their Creative Muscles

In November 2010, I hosted a speed networking event at the Galway Hooker in NYC, a bar just a few blocks south of where I used to work full-time for an academic book publisher.*

The event was a shot-in-the-dark idea I had for promoting my brand new career coaching business… one idea among many.

I paired up with Marian Schembari to plan and co-host the event. Together, we filled the space with publishing professionals we’d connected with over the course of our careers.

We filled that room with 25 publishing experts, and then — through a promotional push borne of the fear that no one would show up — we managed to fill the room with 50 more people eager to speed network with them.

The event was a resounding success, and I often thought of hosting more of them.

I never did. [Read more…]

How To Throw An Event That Rocks The House

A Dramatic Reenactment of the Entrance to Word Nerd Networking

In November 2010, about 75 people crammed themselves into a small back room at the Galway Hooker for an event I’d planned with the fantabulous Marian Schembari.

Needless to say, I was shocked. It was my very first foray into event planning, and I had assumed we’d be lucky if even five people bought tickets.

But apparently, we had hit upon a real need amongst word nerdy types.

In the end, the event was a success. People raved to me about the great conversations they’d had, and the connections they’d made. They even asked me when the next event was taking place! (To which I began laughing maniacally because I was having a nervous breakdown… you’ll soon see why…)

Still — as I assume happens with most events of this sort — not everything went smoothly.

[Read more…]

How To Build Your Network Without Having a Panic Attack

That time you saw me at that thing? I was screaming on the inside.

There are sooo many things that terrify me about networking events. I agonize over the best way to approach people, and then wuss out and don’t approach anyone. I assume that, when people see me cowering in the corner alone, they instantly know I’m lame. I worry that my obvious social awkwardness is turning off anyone I happen to be speaking with. I berate myself for being so completely boring.

I’m an introvert. Extended social interactions exhaust me and, after awhile, I hit a wall. I also have social anxiety. Drinking helps. My shrink has suggested pot. My Xanax just puts me to sleep.

But taking networking from online to in-the-flesh is SO IMPORTANT. It can solidify a relationship that you’ve developed online, or lead to new, promising connections. Also? Despite the fact that y’all terrify me so damn much, I love meeting new people and forging new connections. It’s just so gratifying to connect with someone who shares my interests… who can act as a sounding board… who I can swap tips and war stories with. And maintaining those relationships can be key in moving a career forward. The bulk of the work that comes to me nowadays is thanks to people I’ve worked with in the past, or people I BS with on Twitter, or people I’ve met at this or that networking event, thanks to several large glasses of wine.

I want you guys to have that, too.

[Read more…]

Are Professional Organizations Worth the Cost?

My YEC headshot

In early 2011, I announced my big, fat master plan since deciding to drop permalancing from the mix. Part of that plan consisted of joining up with the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), thanks to some urging from Ryan Paugh (a fantastic community leader who, several years before, had brought me on board at Brazen Careerist).

Then, soon after, this went up.

Behold, my very first time participating in a YEC post (well, that and 24 pretty fantastic tips for those who suck at networking). It was also my very first time on the aol jobs site and, for that, I had the YEC to thank.

Greater visibility was only one of the reasons I was excited about joining up with YEC. I was also looking forward to connecting with the other entrepreneurs within the group. A cursory glance through the list of members showed that I was in some damn fine company. (Um. I am still intimidated by everyone else’s awesomeness.)

So what does this have to do with you?

[Read more…]

What Does Networking Mean To You?

In June 2011, J. Maureen Henderson wrote a post for Forbes on what networking isn’t… and what it could be. I cheered as I read her post, because she got it. She got that networking wasn’t about desperation-fueled schmoozing. (Well. It shouldn’t be.) It wasn’t about working a room or handing out business cards willy-nilly. It was about conversation. It was about connection. It was about all the ways we connect with others on a daily basis, in a thousand different ways.

“Blogging is networking,” she wrote. “Being on Twitter is networking. Sending your BFF a job posting that you think would be perfect for her roommate is networking. Asking Jim in Marketing if he knows someone who is aces at web design is networking. When your new hair stylist asks what you do for a living and you answer her? That’s networking.”

The year before, J.M. did a video interview with me about my career coaching business. That was networking, too. One of J.M.’s blog readers saw that video and became my very first e-course student.

What else is networking?

[Read more…]

Build Your Own Writing Group

I’ve been missing my old writing group.

We met years ago, in Cris Beam’s From Pitch to Publish Class at New School. For at least a year, the four of us workshopped each others’ pieces, shared contacts, suggested paying markets, and basically gave each other the kicks in the ass we needed.

Eventually, life got busy. One of us moved to Brooklyn. One of us moved abroad. One of us had a baby. And I kept getting promoted at work, a development that forced me to travel more often on business.

I used to daydream about starting a new group. But how? And who?

[Read more…]

How To Use Twitter to Reach the Top of Your Field

twitter_logo

Twitter: It’s nothing new. I myself have been using it for years to promote my writing and connect with other freelancers, and even did a guest post over at TwiTip at one point on taking your Twitter networking from online to in-the-flesh. Still — despite all the how-tos out there — people are still Doing It Wrong.

So check out — after the jump — four ways to use Twitter the right way as a means of building your personal business:

[Read more…]

How To Be Generous with Your Writing Community

Back in February, over at Project Happily Ever After, my blogger-buddy Alisa Bowman wrote a post I was absolutely smitten with: How to Put the Love Back in Valentine’s Day. In it, she wrote of one man’s quest to re-brand February 14 as Generosity Day, and then listed the ways in which we could all be more generous to each other. In this way, February 14 becomes more about giving than about getting.

It got me thinking about how I could be better, more generous, more open to others.

I’ve already written extensively on the powers of good karma within the writing community, and on how much of my freelance success can be attributed to the generosity of my fellow writers.

But how about committing to just one generous act for someone in your community. [Read more…]

How to Find a Writing Partner Who Will Make You Rich

This image is 100% about partners, and 0% about the huge crush I used to have on Burt Ward.

In 2011, I wrote a blog post that called for a “writing partner who can kick my lazy, procrastinating writer’s ass.”

Now I have a writing partner I love.

Shortly after securing this partner, I also left behind a low-paying permalance gig that had me feeling stuck. Soon enough, I was well on my way to making more money than I’d made previously, and feeling more productive and successful than ever before.

Coincidence? I think not.

There are numerous benefits to having a writing partner. Here are my top five: [Read more…]

It Helps To Have a Writing Partner Who Can Kick Your Writing Ass

In February 2011, I ran the following ad on Freelancedom:

Wanted: A writing partner who can kick my lazy, procrastinating writer’s ass. Must: Thrive on deadlines, and be willing to offer up honest and constructive criticism, while still being mindful of my multitudinous neuroses, my overwrought sensitivity, and my blind, codependent love affair with my own words. Should enjoy: Caffeine addiction, cats, serial commas, fuzzy pants, Slankets, and dance breaks. Must have a zero-tolerance policy for: Auto DMs, Foursquare, and checking one’s smartphone while in the company of others.

Interested? For the love of god, please e-mail me. Like, right now.

[Read more…]