We All Need More Friends

This week, I’ve been helping you make sure your freelance career doesn’t turn into “work.”

I hope you answered the questions about your passions in life I gave you on Monday, and you were able to choose a niche on Tuesday based on your answers. If not, I’d like you to do it now.

The next step to having fun in your business is connecting with other freelance writers.

Sitting alone in your office writing can be boring and lonesome. And friends in the industry can be tremendously important to developing your career, improving your writing skills, keeping you on track with your goals, and more.

That’s why it’s important to make an effort to engage with others, attend meet-ups, go to Bootcamp, visit online forums or social media sites, or find a writing buddy.

I remember when I first started working at home, I was thrilled to not have to make small talk at the water cooler and hear chatter all day long. I could sit in my quiet office, uninterrupted. It was bliss … for a while.

Then I started missing my friends and eating lunch with a group.

It turned out no matter how much I enjoy quiet time, I needed a certain amount of human interaction. You probably do too.

This week is all about making your writer’s life more fun. A big factor is having friends in the industry.

Friends who are also writers will understand what you’re going through and be able to help you through rough patches.

Your non-writing friends won’t get why you want to start your own business and quit your job. Or why you need to stay home to work on a project when they want you to go out.

I know it can be hard to make new friends. Especially if you feel like the new kid on the first day of school. But I’ve found that most people are also looking for new industry friends. All you have to do is reach out to them.

If you need a bit more of a push, here are four reasons why you should make friends in the industry:

1. A network to bounce ideas off of will make your writing more effective and your business more profitable.

You’ll no longer waste hours – or possibly days – trying to make a decision. Instead, you can post a social network update, send out a quick email, or phone another writer to discuss and get feedback.

Many writers may have already been in the situation you’re in and will give you solid advice and ideas you might not have considered.

Plus, a network of your peers is a great place to turn for copy reviews and motivation to snag that next client.

2. You’ll have access to an accountability partner.

If you don’t have any friends in the industry, you’ll have no one to keep you accountable. When the going gets tough, you’ll be much more likely to give up.

Instead, you can follow one of my biggest tips to succeed and find an accountability partner early on. Make a commitment to share your goals and help each other stay on track.

You can read more of my tips for finding and working with an accountability partner here.

3. You’ll be able to get by giving.

One of the fastest ways to get what you need is to give it to someone else.

Need recognition? Recognize someone else.

Need a referral? Refer someone else.

Those people, or others in your group, will return the favor soon enough.

But if you don’t have any friends in the industry, you won’t have anyone to give referrals or recognition to. And you certainly won’t have anyone to give those things to you.

4. You’ll have more fun.

I’ve found it’s a lot more fun to write when I have some friends in the industry to review my copy and give me feedback.

When you have friends who are also writers, you’ll be able to talk on the phone, meet online, or possibly even meet for coffee to talk about what you’ve been doing and laugh about your challenges.

These things might seem like a waste of time because your main income-generating activity is writing, but social interaction is what keeps loneliness away and puts you in touch with the real world.

What fun is the writer’s life if you don’t have any friends to share it with?

So now that you know why you could be connecting with other writers … where do you find them? Here’s where I look:

1. The AWAI forum – This is one of my favorite resources for support. You can post questions or comments, tips, and advice. You can get feedback on your work or goals. You can get motivation from other writers. If you’re feeling alone in your writer’s life journey, I recommend stopping by the forum today.

2. Social Media – Facebook and Twitter are both great places for connecting with other writers, joining groups of like-minded people, and learning more about writing. Many of my Facebook friends are people from AWAI. Some I’ve met in person, but many I haven’t. Having these virtual friends gives me a support system of people who are always fast to congratulate me when I hit a big goal or give me encouragement when I don’t.

You can find me on Facebook here or follow me on Twitter here.

3. AWAI Bootcamp and Job Fair – I recently attended my first Bootcamp, and my eyes were opened to the benefits of networking with like-minded people. It was motivating, inspiring, and a blast!

Plus, because of my involvement in social media, I met so many familiar faces that I had only networked with online. It was a fast and easy way to make friends because we recognized each other. Now, after Bootcamp, we have a lot more to talk about and the bonds are stronger because we met in person.

4. Other networking events – Other than the AWAI Bootcamp, it’s important to network with other professionals and business owners.

You’ll be able to hear what’s working in other industries and come up with ideas to improve your writing or market your business more effectively.

You’ll also likely make some connections with people offering a service that can make your life easier. And the people you meet might also need your services or know someone who does.

Today, I challenge you to visit the AWAI forum, join a social network, and connect with some other writers. Share what’s going on in your life and offer to help others with what you’ve learned so far.

Visit the forum every day for a week, and you’ll find you look forward to catching up with your fellow writers.

Then take it a step further by inviting the new friends you’ve made to connect over a Skype chat – or if they’re local, to meet for coffee.

Don’t think about what you’ll get out of these relationships; just make an effort to start connecting with more people. Put yourself in situations where you can meet other writers and introduce yourself. Remember, this can happen in person or online.

The point is that having friends in this business is one of the keys to making it fun.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: January 18, 2012

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