In writing groups, online groups, at conferences and other places writer’s gather we talk a lot about the importance of networking. It is important to build relationships with editors and agents and other writers and maybe even more important building a base of readers who will follow our work.
But that’s not the only networking we should be doing.
Maybe the most important such network is family. From a writing standpoint some authors are lucky to have family that understands their need to write and what they are really accomplishing with it. Some don’t, and I’ve found if that is the case that the understanding we seek there will come when the time is right. That’s why we network in the first group I mentioned, to have interaction with people who really know and understand. No, the support from this group is much more important to us than just understanding our writing, they are our base, our anchor. My wife Saundra is the center of this network and the center of my life. From there it moves out to five kids, ten grandkids and three great grands then on to our extended family. We should all be working very hard on the relationships in this network.
For me the most important networking of all is constant contact with the Lord through daily prayer and Bible reading. And strongly related to that network is my church family. I am lucky to have a church family that wants to celebrate with me when there are glad tidings, but who are also there for me when there is illness or when I am facing other problems. And Saundra and I are there for them as well.
My client group is an important network. I require them to be in an online group where I can contact them all at once but they have a choice as to whether they are full access on the group or only receive priority messages from me. Most are in the full access group where they can talk to one another and where I can see what they are talking about and respond to them when appropriate. They have a very close bond, rejoice in each others success, and have become a tremendous group of prayer warriors when prayer is needed. They support each other and are very strong support for me.
I have a large number of acquaintances, particularly counting the number of ‘friends’ on facebook, twitter and other social media. I tend to accept friends from family members and from the writing community. Others who send me friend requests I don’t accept which automatically makes them a follower. We need followers too, and hopefully that will keep me from going over whatever that number is that we can’t exceed on friends there.
But there is a huge difference between acquaintances and real friends. I have had few real friends in my life and they are very precious to me. There are a lot of people who will come running for a party or celebration, who love to celebrate and rejoice with us, but the real friends are the ones that come running when we need help. And we have to be there for them as well.
We talk a lot about our writing networking and I think most of us work at improving those connections. Are we putting as much effort into these other networks?