Do you need a freelance writing network?
I've seen a few posts here and there about having a solid freelance writing network - like a group of freelancing friends who share stories, frustrations and motivation.
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Some of us are the Chazz Michael Michaels' of freelance writing. The lone wolves who write alone.
The bottom line is that you do what you need to do to become as successful as you want to be.
So if you like having people to talk to who do what you do, and it'll help you be more productive, make more money or give you the courage to take necessary business risks, go make some freelance writing friends.
But the point is that you don't have to do that in order to be successful. There are plenty of other freelance writers who only know one (or don't know any) other freelance writers - and they're as successful as they want to be. Tons of freelance writers gather information by reading blogs by other successful writers, checking in on message boards or reading books about freelance writing.
There are pros and cons of having your own circle of freelance writing friends - but it depends on what your attitude toward flying solo is.
Pros of Having a Freelance Writing Network
- You have people to reach out to when you're in a rough spot, either by phone, email or IM
- Sometimes your freelance writing network will provide you with a fresh perspective on a problem or issue
- Your freelance writing network can be a source of new ideas and inspiration
Cons of Having a Freelance Writing Network
- The people in your network can be a constant source of interruption while you're working
- You may become distracted enough that you just want to 'chat' when you should be working, disrupting both your workday and someone else's workday
- Every person has a different comfort level, and you may find others are encroaching on yours without meaning to (by asking how much you're charging people, by sharing unwanted advice or opinions or otherwise overstepping their boundaries)
You Don't Have to Be a Crazy Hermit if You Work Alone
Me? I prefer to work alone. I have my non-writing friends to call if I want a distraction, and I read awesome blogs when I need advice. I don't welcome distractions while I'm working (in fact, they irritate me), so I wouldn't be a good friend to IM or Skype in the middle of the afternoon. The only time I want my phone to ring during the day is when there's a client or potential client on the other end.
I do, however, absolutely love emails talking about freelance writing - because I can answer them when I'm done working or when I need a break - and they don't derail me from work. I can get into lengthy conversations in blog post comments if that's what I want to do, or I can opt out of even replying - and so can you.
So I'm not averse to building a network... but I am averse to building a network that looks like a daytime social life. Is this mean? No. It's just what I prefer - and if you prefer to work alone, then by all means, work alone. If you want to be available to chat with others, then make some freelance writing friends. The important thing is that you're doing what you need to do to be successful - and that's the bottom line in this entire business.
Do you have a freelance writing network? Have you developed long-lasting relationships with other writers? Why (or why not)?
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© Angie Papple Johnston 2010. Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.