WFC – Building Professional Relationships

They listed this as “relationship building” or some such and I think most of us thought this would be a forum on character relationship building. Not so.

But not disappointing either. One of the foibles of many writers (and I’ve been guilty of this too) is our lack of interest or ability in forming professional relationships. Some of us can barely stomach the thought that people are reading our precious stories, let alone talk to those people after they’ve done it.

Being around the BFF has made me more of an outgoing person, because I was able to watch her seemingly flawless skill at connecting with people. She’s been in sales for years. Couple that with her natural love of people, and boom, her skills dominate.

Last year and this year too while attending the Writing for Charity conference I noticed the majority of writers I met seemed about 0% interested in networking. When I asked them what their story was about, they transformed into the wary cat, guarding the precious food it just found. That or they gave me that look, the what do you want look. That’s not all of them, but it was a lot of them.


If you can’t see the point of networking and connecting with other authors, then I’m sure this question has crossed your mind: What can other authors do for me? It’s not like they’ve got an agent either.

True, some may not. But you’re approaching the point with completely the wrong attitude. Networking and building professional relationships isn’t about what that person can do for you, but what you can do for them.

Let’s start with a quote from the forum:

Every opportunity has its root in a relationship.

Remember that phrase it’s not what you know but who you know. Although what you know is important and will take you far, who you know is equally as important. You’re probably still wondering how getting to know other aspiring authors is going to get you published.

Stop it. Stop that approach. Focus instead on what you can do for them. For me, in the beginning, it was that I knew networking and building relationships would at the very least bring me into the circle of my peers and keep my motivation running. But while networking, I met a friend who introduced me to all kinds of things I hadn’t know about Twitter. Hashtags like #myWANA #Row80 and #wordmongering now entered my hemisphere, all because I was willing to open my mouth and say hello.

I also tried to be his motivator and he was mine, and we checked in with each other on our progress. Friendship. Karma. If you give help freely, help will be given freely to you. I always learn something new from networking.

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Monday’s Writerly Quote

I have a substantial amount of hobbies in addition to writing. I like to play the guitar, to ski, to travel, to learn about cultures and languages, drawing comics—the list goes on and on. And even amidst all that, I make time for a social life too. Some of us may be in a position where we think, I’ll have a social life after I’m published. Or maybe there are those of us wishing we could somehow get out of family and social obligations to write.

I’ve heard some authors say at writers conferences it’s okay to neglect family for the sake of writing. You can always make it up to them, they say. But I’m of the mind that no success outside of the home makes up for failure in the home. That’s why this quote appealed to me so much, from David Brin:

If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.

Sometimes those things we think are interfering with our writing are actually enriching our writing. Being a parent, a friend, a co-worker, etc. can and usually does feed our inspiration. Sometimes I also wonder whether or not it would be a good thing to only do writing full time. It seems like you gain experiences working the day job that you may not gain any other place.

And speaking of David Brin, he’s got some fabulous advice for writers on his site. I’ll admit, I haven’t read any David Brin. Sounds like I need to. One line I really like from his advice was: If you really are a writer, you will write! Nothing can stop you. How right he is.

Do you believe your relationships, whether at work, home or with friends influences your writing? Were you able, would you only write full time? Have you read David Brin? Would you recommend his books? Do you agree that if you’re really a writer, nothing can stop you? Let us know below.

Make Me Care

Recently on the good ol’ Netflix I’ve been getting into the new series Once Upon a Time.  For those unfamiliar with Once, the idea is that the evil queen from Snow White cast a powerful curse on fairy tale land, transporting them to our world where they live their lives stuck in a boring Maine town where they can never have happy endings.  The series merges what happened before the curse in fairy tale land and what’s happening current day.


Once Upon a Time Emma

There, you’ve been warned, although I don’t know that this particular spoiler will ruin the whole series for you.  But as I said, you’ve been warned.

So going into about the seventh or so episode, one of the more prominent characters dies.  And guess what?  I didn’t care.  It’s not that it wasn’t sad or that I didn’t believe this would have some kind of impact on anyone, it’s just that the writers hadn’t bothered to make me really care about this character before giving him the axe.

For those who haven’t seen the show… **LAST SPOILER ALERT WARNING**

Our heroine, Dr. Cam—er, Emma, is a stranger to the town of Storybrooke.  For reasons you can discover going and watching the series, she ends up a deputy to the Sheriff named Graham.  Prior to this episode I’m guessing Emma and Graham had about 2 minutes total what-could-be-conceived-as-romantic screen time.  Most of the series up to this point is heavily focused on Emma’s relationship with her son and outwitting Ms. Villain.

I figured at some point she’d have a thing with Graham because he seemed like the only available guy in town.  But just because someone is available doesn’t automatically equate love, nor does it equate a good love story.

Once Upon a Time BuddyTv

See these bars? They represent the plot gap between us stopping this future relationship from becoming legit.

Despite Emma clearly demonstrating her lack of interest in Graham other than as a colleague fighting against evil, and also discovering Graham is sleeping regularly with Ms. Villain, the writers decided they wanted to go there.  When Emma finds out Graham is with Ms. Villain, we have even more reason to believe any and all romantic inclinations toward Graham are probably gone.  Graham tries to explain things, clearly showing he had an interest in Emma, but Emma seems more disgusted he’s with Ms. Villain than worried that he’s involved with anyone.

So then, using a quick cheap way fix relationships you haven’t bothered to fully establish, they hand lines to characters who know Emma to establish that yeah, despite our better judgement I guess she liked him.  I mean, it’s obvious, and if you have someone say it’s obvious, who are your viewers/readers to say differently?

Mary Margaret and Emma Once Upon a Time

Emma, it’s obvious you like Graham. -MM
Huh? Since when? -Emma
Since the script ordered me to tell you about it. -MM

So now that the audience has been informed Emma obviously likes Graham, they go off on an adventure together, with Emma still not invested in liking Graham anymore than friends, but hey, someone told us it was obvious…  After a confrontation with Ms. Villain (where we still don’t really get anything to make us believe Emma is interested in Graham that way), Emma and Graham are back at the office fixing wounds.  This is the very first time a real scene happens between these two that might hint at realistic romance—unfortunately the episode is 5 minutes from over and Ms. Villain decides to kill Graham via magic.
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