Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I just got back from a coffee break with a fellow member of New Jersey Romance Writers. She and I follow each other on Twitter, have participated together in JeRoWriMo and are online acquaintances. She contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked to meet in order to ask me some question about my publishing experience (I still can’t believe I have that!).

I was happy to get together with her. Number one, I’m always happy to share my own experiences with someone. The experiences are unique to me, and my advice may not work for everyone, but it’s still a worthy experience sharing them. And sharing benefits both of us. Sometimes it helps me to clarify my strategy by having to explain it to someone else. And the other person gets the benefit of hearing what worked for another person—even if they decide not to do what I did, at least they’re navigating their way through the maze of the publishing world.

Number two, there have been so many people along the way who have helped me, it’s nice to give back. We actually discussed this. Neither of us is sure if the willingness to help each other is exclusive to romance writers in general or NJ romance writers in particular, but a potentially competitive field has provided a wealth of information to me and to her.

Without exception, everyone I’ve met, whether it’s been in person or online, has been more than willing to share their expertise and experiences. Just having someone to bounce an idea off of, or to commiserate with, is enough to keep me going even when the rejections stack up and the writer’s block sets in. And hopefully, I’m providing that encouragement to others.

And number three, it was fun to meet someone who has similar life experiences to mine. Although I’m published and she’s not (yet), our writing lives are comparable. We both have children around the same age; we both have to juggle our writing lives with our regular lives; we both seem to feel guilty about making time to do this; and we both are a bit shy when it comes to mingling at meetings and conferences (J).

On Saturday, we are both going to our NJRW meeting. I haven’t been in a while and neither has she—it’s hard to devote an entire day to writing when we have children with social lives more complicated than our own. And as I said earlier, we’re both a bit hesitant to walk into a room where everyone knows each other. But now we know each other. So Saturday morning we’ll be looking out for each other.

And that’s the best benefit by far of networking!


  1. Glad you've found someone who seems so compatible, Jen. I've met other writers but none that I could really relate to on more than a fairly superficial basis. When I'm sitting here trying to work my way through a story, I'd love to have someone to brainstorm ideas with!

  2. I don't have a nearby writer friend to meet with, so I don't know what that would be like. That's why I do online writing friends. Hug. hug.

    I know I would be thrilled to know a friendly face at a conference. I am awfully shy, get tongue-tied surrounded by strangers.

  3. Must admit I was glad to meet up with a couple of online friends the RNA conference last year, but they live too far away from me (i.e. in Scotland) to meet up at other times.

  4. Writers in genreal do tend to have a great networking system. I know most of the ones I've come in contact with are more than willing to sit and chat (whether in person or via internet) about experiences, etc. I've met some wonderful people. Including all of you!

    Have fun at your meeting! I haven't been to one of my local chapter meetings in quite a while, either. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

  5. Thanks ladies. It was definitely a nice day and now I'm looking forward to Saturday!

  6. Many years ago I used to have a beta-reader friend who wasn't a writer but who was great for brainstorming ideas. She'd say things like 'How about if ...' or 'Maybe she could ...' and then we'd talk through ideas, and she really helped me to work through a vague idea and turn it into something feasible and relevant. I could do with her here right now, but unfortunately she moved away.

  7. I used to have a critique partner who was my total opposite. But we worked really well together. She stopped writing--she got too discouraged. I loved bouncing ideas off of her.