First quarter 2010. I've joined two associations for/of writers: Freelance Forum, a live group that meets once a month at the Portfolio Center. We meet 'n mingle 'n munch for an hour or so and then settle in for a listen to that night's speaker. Recently, we had a LinkedIn expert take us through the basics of networking via that site. FF has a group site on LinkedIn where meeting news and other discussions are carried on throughout the month. In fact, one discussion, on using Wordpress as a website, has led to an off-calendar event at Ignition Alley, a tutorial led by the LinkedIn expert (Carol Shepherd). I'm looking forward to this as I'd like to turn my currently incubated Wordpress site (Sending Pages) into a space for completed creative projects and teaching blogs. Haven't earned back any of my investment (a modest $85/year) yet, but feel it's been worth the price in actual human contact. If I could focus on freelancing and business writing, I'd likely get some work through these good folks...but that's a big if.
I also joined an online freelance association, www.freelancesuccess.com and it's been great in providing market openings, marketing advice, query samples, etc. Again, this quarter, for me, has been given over to maintaining the online teaching gig (time management), working on up-coming art show at the APA (May 2-27 at downtown library, more info to come), job search (because I'd just be safer) and overall anxiety. Oh, yes and the retail gig, personal relationships, etc.
I am enrolled in an online query writing class but have blown the opportunity sky high. This must have been an impulse buy. People have five minutes unaccounted for and sign up (and pay for) a class, manage the first two meetings and then disappear. I could never understand this. Until this year. While it's important to invest in one's career and job search, it's critical to understand one's ability and the extra psychic weight involved in any one of life's crises: unemployment, divorce, breakups, death. Well, I'm saving the notes and handouts for a better time.
I've also joined www.litopia.com and spent a good bit of February able to participate on the online discussion boards. The novel I posted here, "I Want to Live Here" is being posted now (in revision) to www.authonomy.com. But March took all my attention for its own uses and both memberships (and projects) have languished.
So, yesterday I spent two hours with the Georgia Writers Association at their monthly meeting in Kennesaw. A great group with an interesting speaker, Jeff Stepakoff. I'll devote a separate blog to that event and to his message: story is more important than writing, at another time.
And then there's the Atlanta Printmakers Studio, where I spent a delicious week working, hands on, on two pieces for the upcoming library show. This group is also beautifully organized, reasonably priced and generous with opportunities for shows, print exchanges and other ways to show work.
I realize, as I list these various groups, both real and virtual, that I'm filling in for no greater purpose than to make real what I say I want to do. And what I do. But it's too much.