I’m actually looking forward to networking – the new Word Lab Leeds group

I’m happy to admit that I’m not a born networker. Who really is? But there are things I would like to achieve right now so I’m joining a new network for writers in Leeds that meets for the first time tomorrow. And I’m really looking forward to it.

Having recently completed my MSc I am now tackling the gargantuan list of ‘things I’d like to do once I have completed my MSc’. One of the items on the list is to spend some time writing the novel which has been niggling away in my head for a number of years. I also know I have the ability to write a number 1 pop record; but that’s for another time…

I don’t really know any other writers and am in need of critical friends to support my progress; so I determined that I needed to find a new network of lovely creative people.

“Oh, a network… … really Gillian? You’re sure about that?” I thought.

Despite being a bubbly, outwardly confident PR by day; I’m a Cancerian and boy do I like retreating into my shell. So I didn’t like the prospect of going out to network. But I think I’m going to be OK having found the lovely Clare Fisher  at Word Lab Leeds on a recent Writers’ Day at Leeds Trinity University – an event that yes, that I forced myself to go to, met loads of fab people and had a brilliant and truly inspiring day.

What was I so worried about?

So I decided to change my way of thinking and consider the benefits of networking:

  • Sharing knowledge. Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge … in the Writers’ Group we can read 1,000 words to each other and get some useful feedback to help us shape plots, characters etc.
  • Creating opportunities. It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities and you just never know what will come out of the experience…from one writing day I have new friends, a new network – who knows what will happen next.
  • Connections. Networking builds connections directly and indirectly and great people link each other together in a really useful, help others out kind of way. How good does that sound? Plus I like helping others so hopefully I may be useful to someone else soon too.
  • Increased confidence…oh yes please. I’m sure everyone else worries about looking daft and having verbal diarrhoea, so you’re not alone Gillian. And remember that when we push our boundaries to gain new experiences, each time we gain confidence to push the limits just a little bit further. I think that’s going to feel really good.
  • Raising your profile. I’m not power hungry, but it’s always nice to be held in good regard for doing something well and I’d like my writing to be a little more well known (that’s your cue to shared my blog, by the way!).

So if I can do it, then hopefully you can too. Please share your experiences of networking if you’ve been a bit timid like me in the past; or indeed if you really are a seasoned pro and have any tips you would like to share.

I’ll let you know how the group goes, by the way.