Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Oh to network...

As I type, I am sat on a train with two of my favourite things next to me:  a selection of yummy chocolates from Cologne courtesy of Mama Berry and a lovely fat glossy copy of Red magazine, courtesy of, well, Red.  Technically this copy was given to me by its creators, along with lots of other goodies, at their most recent networking event for wannabe writers.  Okay, so I had to pay for the privilege, but not only did I get my money back through the medium of goodie bags, Prosecco and canapés, I also made contact with a fellow blogger and writer – who has offered to pass some work she was offered my way.  Result!
You see, I have discovered and whole heartedly embraced the wonders of networking.  And, trust me, in London, there are plenty of opportunities.  It started relatively small with monthly meetings set up by More to Life Than Shoes.  There I met women who, like me, wanted more from their lives.  They inspired me to start my novel and, over two years on, I’m nearly ready to send it out into the big bad world, plus they introduced me to a children’s writer who needed an illustrator – and took me on.  Okay, so I’ve yet to get that elusive book deal (and I WILL get it!), but it has been a hell of an inspiration.
Then there has been my book group where I met my blogging muse Paperback Reader.  She not only got me started in the world of blogging and twitter, but also introduced me to the wonderful ladies at Grumpy Young Women who I wrote for before one of the editors they closed for business.  I stay in touch with them and shall soon be providing an image for a project one of the girls is working on about cool girls and their sewing machines – and am insanely flattered to learn that I apparently fall into this category.
Amazingly, sometimes a new opportunity to network just lands on your lap.  Take the other week.  I was sat outside a pub with a friend, bemoaning my lot and swooning over a flat I’d just seen for sale in Brighton that had “Shelly” written all over it.  My chum did her best to bring me crashing back to reality by pointing out how tiring the daily commute would be.  The chap sat next to us chipped in, explaining that he lived in Brighton and commuted to his job at the Birmingham Institute of Arts.  Needless to say, as the evening went on and the beer flowed, I told him about my heady days as a Visual Art student - only to find out that he is personally acquainted with two of my old lecturers and would happily but me back in touch with them.  Proof enough that drinking is, in fact, good for you...
It doesn’t end there.  On Monday I shall be swanning off to the launch of Alarmist magazine, a new publication packed full of wit, writing and art.  I forget how I heard about them but sent in one of my illustrations for consideration.  Sadly it was not for them, but... they invited me to the launch anyway.  Hurrah!
So, if you will excuse me, I have a glossy to read, a new acquaintance to email and an awful lot of chocolate to eat.  And, who knows, the guy sat across from me might just be a really handy contact...


  1. I have always been a convinced that "drinking is, in fact, good for you..." on a networking perspective of course... Haha...
    Those are very inspiring stories because most people don't see the little opportunities in their daily life; networking is not only to go to events and exchange business cards, it's about being open to exchange and dialogue with random stranger. That's where you'll find the most fantastic encounters.
    I'm curious though about those bloggers/writers networking groups, care to share a little more about them? Wondering if I can find something similar in France...

    1. Hello there,
      Have you tried I know they have groups for writers in London and am pretty sure they cater for groups all over the world? Might be a good start...
      Good Luck!