I was thinking about the relationships I have with other freelance writers. In my next article I plan on writing about how to connect and then I started wondering if there are folks out there who don’t even try to connect with other freelance writers. I mean, writing is a solitary sport for most of us and just staying connected is a time-suck. I know some freelance writers who would argue that there is little benefit to connecting with other writers.
I’m not here to judge one way or the other. Whatever blows your skirt up, says I.
I have mixed feelings about connecting with other writers. On one hand, some of those connections have paved the way towards bill-paying gigs. On the other hand, I’ve seen these connections go horribly south – ending in ugliness and hard feelings. If I had to fall on one side of the fence or the other, I would say that overall, connecting with other writers is a good thing. If nothing else, it does remind me that there are other humans out there doing the same thing as me. As well, some of my connections have been good about being my “go to” when I need to vent (or to celebrate for that matter.)
I do think there is some validity to the time-suck argument. I think that it is way too easy to go overboard with this connecting business. When that happens, a writer may spend more time in front of Facebook or Twitter than in front of the word processor. When that happens, the writing gets cut short. When that happens, the writer is no longer a writer. They are a friend or a follower.
Balance, my friends. Like everything else in life, it’s all about balance. Tip the scales too much in either direction and you are apt to lose out somehow.
I do a couple of things to try and keep my balance. First, orthopedic shoes. Just kidding. I connect through two primary means: Facebook and Twitter. Yeah, I have a LinkedIn account but I never use it. I don’t belong to any writing forums and I don’t take advantage of any of the dozens of writing sites designed for the purpose of connecting. I generally visit FB and Twitter once or twice a day and interact a bit but generally not to excess. Otherwise, when I am hot and heavy into a writing thing, I shut down my browser and yield not into temptation. This lets folks know that I am around and that I’m paying attention, but not TOO much attention.
That’s how I do it, but I think someone could get by just fine without connecting. I know it’s hard to imagine but hey, 20 years ago freelance writers were able to make a living and they were able to do it without a bunch of instant connections.
What say you? Connected or not?