Still, I craved a networking opportunity. I also wanted the knowledge I would gain from attending a conference: tips on publishing, platform building, and querying, to name a few.
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So when April came around, hoping to gain some of this education, I decided to participate in Robert Lee Brewer’s Platform Challenge. I went places I never imagined, all from the comfort of my kid-activity-monopolized lifestyle.
His challenge included such activities as joining a handful of social networking sites, some of which I had previously avoided: Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Participants were also asked to start a blog or spruce it up if they already had one. Other exercises included creating an editorial calendar, commenting on other blogs, pitching at least one guest post blog to another blog owner, and contacting an expert for an interview post.
I was more successful at some of the assignments than others. For instance, I still haven’t perfected the art of my own editorial calendar, though I am determined to eventually find a method that works best for my style of writing (“seat of my pants”).
Since I had already signed up for Facebook, I could breathe on that day.
I fumbled around on Twitter during the challenge and can say that, one year later, I am actually beginning to enjoy it and I now regularly participate in Twitter chats.
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Take the Challenge
If you haven’t yet participated in the challenge, pick a month to commit to working through the assignments on a daily basis. At the end of the month, focus on your “weaker” areas or tasks you haven’t completed, easing your way in if you have to. As an example, it’s easier to pitch a guest blog post to a friend, but once you’ve accomplished that, move on to pitching to blog owners you don’t know personally.
One of the best parts about participating is the group of supportive and helpful writer friends I have made, most of whom now congregate as a community under the name Wordsmith Studio. I can’t imagine I would have gained such a supportive system from networking over just a few days.
Overall, participating in Robert’s challenge was the best thing for me. It not only helped me to build my confidence as a writer, but also taught me some very handy skills in marketing myself. Most importantly, it helped me to come out of my shell of shyness, so that when I do actually make it to a writing conference, I think I will be better prepared to network in person
Linda G. Hatton spends her days writing—poetry, novels, screenplays, web codes, or notes to her children. Otherwise she gets a little cranky. Read more about Linda at her writer website. Also, check out her online literary publication, Mouse Tales Press.
Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer
Also, check out previous Not Bob posts:
- 3 SEO Myths That Scare Writers.
- Best Blogs for Writers to Read in 2013.
- 3 Ways to Make Your Own Luck.