Thursday, June 4, 2009

Harnessing the Power of Teamwork

Harnessing the Power of Teamwork
By Bev Walton-Porter

Networking with others can be one of your most valuable strategies as a writer—especially if you plan to write full-time and depend on paying assignments to cover your expenses. How do I know this? Simple. Over the past couple of years, I've used networking as a tool to get my words published more and to get paid more for them.

When I quit my traditional job in May of 1997, I jumped into full-time writing with few long-term prospects and zero income. But since then, through networking with other writers and editors to nail down more assignments, I have succeeded in earning more income than from the traditional job I gave up years before.

Not sure how to begin networking? Here are five quick ways to jump-start your networking machine and put the gears in motion that can compel you to obtaining more writing assignments:

1. Begin cultivating a foundation of contact people in your field. Join mailing lists, subscribe to free writing e-zines over the Web, study writing Web sites, and find newsgroups that welcome and nurture new writers.

2. Once you have made your contact list, don't be shy. Ask questions, talk to other writers who are doing the same type of writing you want to do. Find out their methods for success. Build a network of published authors, editors and professional freelance writers and learn from them.

3. If you can't locate an existing group that offers the support you require, ask some of your other writing buddies about groups they are members of, and what their opinions are of those groups. Gravitate toward like-minded writers. If you're seeking publication and pay for your prose or poems, it only makes sense to hang around writers who actively seek the same rewards!

4. Still aren't able to locate a writing group that suits your needs? Create one of your own! E-mail your writing buddies and tell them you're organizing your own writing group. Approach like-minded colleagues and build a group that will offer support, honest critique and open exchange of market information or other writing-related assignments.

5. Be ready to give, as well as to receive information. Make sure to search for freelance job opportunities or calls for articles and post them to your group. Don't sit back and reap all the rewards of someone else's surfing—if you run across information that doesn't fit your particular genre, but that could be used by another of your group's writers, let them know about it!

You must remember that networking is not just for professionals, it's for every level of writer. Teamwork is a powerful concept, and networking is just that: putting the teamwork of like-minded writers together so everyone lands consistent assignments.

Bev Sninchak (writing as Bev Walton-Porter and Star Ferris) is a professional writer/author who has published hundreds of stories on a wide variety of subjects and written four books: “Sun Signs for Writers,” “Mending Fences,” and “The Complete Writer: A Guide to Tapping Your Full Potential,” co-authored with three other writers. Her fourth book, “Hidden Fire,” is due out in 2009 from Whiskey Creek Press.

Bev also works as a contract editor, writing instructor and creativity coach. She has edited and published the award-winning e-zine for writers, Scribe & Quill, for the past eleven years. She is a member of The Authors Guild as well as the co-founder of the International Order of Horror Professionals.

Please visit her Web site at:

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