Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Approaching People With Care Series: Part I


Welcome to a new series on Net’s Notations Tuesdays.

Nod at me if your life is somewhat reclusive. That’s what I thought. Lots of nods. It’s so easy to do—pal around with your computer and never leave home except for the necessary errand days. Am I right?

I wonder if anyone has conducted research to discover whether writers/authors are more often introverts. Most writers I know are.

Then, when we do venture out of our caves—ahem, writing offices—we’re squinting and somewhat unaccustomed to the light. ;) Where do you find social opportunities? Church? Your child’s school? Your day job? Take advantage of those times, and not in ways you might think.

Several years ago, a fellow writer and I knew of an editor we both wanted to pitch to. So we each met with her at a conference and gave it our best shot. She was interested in both of our manuscripts. Shortly after that (if I’m remembering correctly), she was in an accident. The next time we saw her (after about a year) we discovered the news of her accident and that changed our focus. Only my friend got to speak with her in the hubbub of the busy weekend, and she chose wisely—to check in on the woman’s health. The editor was touched. My friend's compassionate approach made a difference. Our projects weren't mentioned, but really, who cares? The editor's health mattered so much more.

So often, we can get in the mode of looking at people like they’re commodities. We might ask ourselves, what can they do for me? Instead, I believe we’re called to care about them as people. Remember, editors, agents, fellow writers, experienced people in the biz (i.e. those who have connections or are gatekeepers) are people first. They have families (generally) and responsibilities and lives and hurts just like we do. Rather than asking what can s/he do for us, we should serve. Believe me, that kind of manner will stand out.

People know if you genuinely care for them. That should be our goal, our heart, our method. God will bring the connections when it’s time. He’ll open the doors for networking. Caring about people will set you apart. As you attend conferences this year, or interact with other writing professionals, consider approaching them with care.

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