Connecting to Community: A Sneak Peek from Up in the Attic


Over the course of the next few months, there are several writing conferences on the horizon. September's blogs will center around some of the key ingredients to having a good experience. Making connections is a large part of conference attendance.

Our guest blogger, Cathy Rueter is the person you go to if you need to speak with a writing professional, she is an amazing connector of people. Thank you, Cathy, for agreeing to guest host.

Thank you, Stacy, for inviting me to talk about my passion—community building and networking with people—on your blog!

Connecting to Community: A Sneak Peek from Up in the Attic
by Cathy Rueter

Community. What is it? And WHY do we need it as writers?
Networking, platform building, our tribe, and our teams. Whatever you want to call it, it’s important. But just why do we, as writers, need community?
Have you ever seen a glass of water poured out but never refilled? Eventually, the glass is empty. Writers pour out our words, our creativity, hearts, time, and imaginations. We need to fill our cup back up with coffeetime among friends, collective meetings with colleagues, critique groups and partners, conferences, writing groups (online and in person), and adding to our support teams around us, or we won’t have anything worthwhile to put on the page.
But how do we—those of us used to working and pouring out in solitude—build and maintain a sense of community. Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about this in detail at “Up In The Attic” with Cathy Rueter but here on Stacy’s blog, I’m giving you a sneak peek into how you can add to your own.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as we build our writing communities:
·         Isolation – It’s not healthy for us.  Look up “isolation and writers” and you’ll have quite the reading list. Being one with the computer is great when the muse is being merry. But too much solitary time can be lonely. If this sounds familiar, push yourself to fix it. Start by contacting other writers. Invite them out for coffee or lunch. Go to writer’s groups, meetups, and critique groups. As an added bonus: sometimes, when we reach out to others to help ourselves, we end up becoming their social lifeline.
We also need to remember, especially as Christian writers, that we are never truly alone. He is there. Waiting for us to seek Him. Waiting for the words He has placed on our hearts and in our imaginations to come through our fingers to the keyboard. He is sitting in the chair with us, eager to help us be His hands. 
·         GEMS. Anyone can be a potential connection. Not everyone can, or should, be in our inner circle. Our gems are the ones that listen when we’re having a bad writing day, those who push us when we feel like giving up, who read our work and are lovingly honest with us and are our loudest cheerleaders. We need to cultivate these relationships. Tend to them. Polish them. Reciprocate the care. This handful in our community circles, writers or not, are more precious than diamonds. My thoughts on these precious people in our lives is the first post of this multi-part blog series you can find in the pencil box.
·         Business cards. I can get rather long-winded about this subject, so I’ll try to be brief. Yes, you need them. I know, I know. Everyone has a cell phone these days so just give them your contact number, right? Nope! Contact lists are inadvertently deleted, phones get broken, and most people just want to remember us from a specific event. Where did we meet them? What do they do? How can we get in touch? Get those business cards! Come find out at Up In The Attic why we should leave the back blank, why some of my business cards have an X across the front, as well as what we do and do not want to do with all those little pieces of paper.
·         Social Media Safety. It’s great to be able to hit the “accept” button, but guess what … we are allowed to say NO, both for safety and time management reasons. It’s okay to be selective in our community building. I like to practice the “Three Layer Rule.” Want to know more about it? Come visit me Up In The Attic and find out how it saves me time with my community building. Above all, remember this. Your platform. Your reputation. Your decision.
·         Ditch it. When community building, what is the one thing we can do to make people feel more important to us? Put away our cell phones. It lets those we are talking to know they are more important to us than that incoming call or the latest sports scores.

Think outside the box when looking for community building opportunities. Keep filling up that glass. Pour more out onto the page. Come find out how we can continue to add to our COMMUNITY—the connections that keep us buoyed, braced, and brave as we navigate this writer’s life.

Cathy Rueter, former reporter, and newsletter editor, is returning to her passion for freelance writing while pursuing a career as a Christian author and speaker. She is the founder of Fledgling Writers Camps, geared toward new writers but welcoming all to the nest. 
Originally from the Greater Grand Rapids, MI area, she now lives within the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with her husband and two sons.  If she’s not at her desk, you can probably find her with her nose in a book—hanging out in her hammock on the back porch, or in the car traveling to various writer’s groups and conferences.

Head on “Up In The Attic” and discover the variety of topics discussed at www.cathyrueter.com or stop by for a visit at www.facebook.com/cathyrueterwriter.

Comments

  1. Hi Cathy, Hi Stacy, Community is such a good topic and it can be very hard to figure out how to build. I feel fortunate to have super critique buddies as a base and am looking forward to meeting Stacy in person in two weeks! Going from behind the computer to in person with many of the people I've gotten to know online is a little bit nerve wracking but it will be great. Thanks for posting these suggestions. I'll be sure to visit your blog. Blessings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barbara, I'm excited to meet you in a few weeks. It will be fun to chat face-to-face instead of over a screen : ) Have a fantastic night! Thank you for connenting.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for commenting, Barbara! I know you will love Stacy when you get to meet her in person. She is one of the "gems" in my circle. Having those "We've met in person" pictures in your mind when you get back to the computer will likely add an extra layer of familiarity and comfort to all your critiquing. Have fun!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Couldn't boil water, but cooked like an angel

Conference Time Frenzy with Joy K. Massenburge

A Season of Grace