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Friday, September 26, 2008

Putting Yourself Out There As A Writer

By Jill Earl

Some time ago, I wrote about the benefits of membership in local writers’ associations, such as attending conferences, becoming part of critique groups, and taking advantage of networking opportunities. It’s the latter that I struggle with.

Why? Because it means coming out of my comfort zone big time. Others don’t believe me when I tell them I’m introverted, because I can extrovert when necessary. One friend has said that she’s amazed at how I can ‘work the room’ at gatherings we’ve attended.

The fact is, we writers must put ourselves out there to let the world know we exist. How else will they learn about us and our work, read what we produce, hear our voices?

Later tonight, I’ll help man the Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) booth at my favorite September event, the Baltimore Book Festival. Along with fellow members, I’ll spend a few hours chatting up the organization with festival-goers and share my experiences with MWA. Afterwards, I’ll slip into the crowd to enjoy my yearly book festival fix.

It's another chance to learn how to network effectively and well, a necessary skill in the writing life. And I enjoy meeting new people.

Can you relate? If so, what are some ways you’ve dealt with putting yourself out there? I’d love to hear from you.


  1. I am very introverted too - I could never work a room anywhere! But this summer I volunteered at a writers' conference, and that helped me meet people...I'm not so introverted when I have work to do.

  2. Anonymous1:51 AM

    Dear Jill:
    I am a disabled veteran and former English teacher. I am 61 years old.
    I write many letters to the editor, and a few articles for our local paper.
    One of the editors keeps saying, "You really put yourself out there."
    I feel insecure when he says that. I felt better after reading your thoughts. You really have to put yourself out there to get known as a writer.
    I don't take criticism well, maybe that's why he says what he says. I am learning to toughen up, and not take criticism so personal. Thanks for your thoughts; I feel better now. Best, Ken


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