I’m writing this in a rush, so apologies if this one is brief.
I’m often traveling the city, taking as much work with me as possible, in order to meet clients and get as much writing done as is feasible in a 24-hour window. When everywhere is your office, nowhere is, but sometimes you have to take your headphones off and engage with that awful N-word we all hate so much.
There are obviously worse N-words, but this one makes me cringe all the same. It’s something I consistently have to force myself to do. Making chit chat and small talk, passing out cards and dropping hints is a necessary evil in the freelance writing world, or any for that matter. It’s not enough to be good at writing. People have to know you’re not crazy (or at least sufficiently not-crazy to work with), but I can’t describe how uncomfortable I am living my life as a billboard, advertising in the most direct way imaginable in an attempt to feed my writing addiction.
The worst part of networking is taking people at face value. I at least appreciate that everyone is in the same boat as I am. A professional presentation at all times is key, including having a portfolio on call (a webcomic with 5 years of backlog isn’t too shabby to hold in your back pocket, if you were wondering). But appearance goes beyond just body of work, and enters into dress, mannerisms, what you say, and how you say it. And the worst part is that there’s no prep or undo button. You just go, go, go and hope you didn’t run off the track. You don’t even have time to regret what you’ve said until the conversation is over.
And my batting average isn’t great, my autopilot being, shall we say, unreliable. I want to be honest and true, and I want the people I work with to have an unfiltered view of who I am and what I stand for. This isn’t great if you just want to be hired, but l’m a warts and all kind of guy. I want to be upfront and honest, and I expect (hope) for the same from people I work with. And that’s why I hate networking – it’s about putting your best foot forward, and I just prefer to put whatever foot comes next.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you need to let someone know how you feel, regardless of the consequences. Maybe I’m being a prideful fool. Sometimes honesty can hurt you in the long run, when swallowing your pride and ego would be in everyone’s best interest. But sometimes keeping it all in hurts more.
I know Karrie would agree.