5 Tips for Networking as a Writer by Guest Blogger Eric Loo
I’m excited to share this post by guest blogger Eric Loo. Eric is a playwright, teacher, and TV writer who I met at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts when we were both studying dramatic writing. I always admired that Eric was able to get out there and talk about his writing and make connections in the industry. As a writer, I used to be so shy and self-conscious about talking about my work. But the truth is, no one will read your book/play/TV script if they don’t know it exists. I asked Eric to share his top 5 tips for networking as a writer. Enjoy! (And get out there!)
You want to sell a script, but in order to do that you have to sell yourself. Problem: you are awful/uncomfortable/awkward at talking about yourself. What do you do? Well, here’s advice from someone who LOVES talking about himself and has no problems tooting his own horn.
1. Be Your Best Self.
It’s important to be authentic, but you only have to put the best parts of yourself out there. Save the false humility (aka self-loathing) for your therapist, parents, lover, and best friends. No one wants to know that you’ve got doubts about your script or that it takes you forever to write a first draft. They just want to know that you’re at ease and fun to be around and that you’re Superman or Wonder Woman (aka a brilliant, quick, and prolific writer who knows everything about your respective field).
2. Stick to Subjects You Know.
Don’t try to seem more knowledgeable than you are. And if you are a TV/film writer who doesn’t watch a lot of TV or films, then stop reading now.
3. Be Engaged AND Engaging.
Just be a good listener and respond accordingly. Maybe you’ll find an opportunity to find something you have in common. Also, play to your strengths. The more comfortable you are with a subject, the more relaxed you will be.
4. Look Good.
Don’t look like you just picked clothes up off the floor. The days of the schlubby writer are over. Just look like a clean, ironed, good-smelling version of yourself. Sloppy Writer translates into Sloppy Writing. It may not be true, but that’s the impression. Also refer to Tip 1: Don’t try to be someone else.
5. Close the Deal.
In networking, as in life, you’ve got to get the digits (or the business card). It helps if you have one to pass along. Then it’s easier to do the swap. But also don’t just walk into a conversation with someone wearing Tip #5 on your sleeve. If the opportunity presents itself, close the deal. If it seems TOO awkward, then just move on politely. Next!
I hope that helps. For examples of how I live a creative life, go to my blog, Creativity in Real Time.