I love the look and feel of old cobblestone roads. The old bricks, worn down over time by the carriage wheels and feet and cars and horses. The connection I have with teachers and professional influences in my life make me think of those roads. It seems I’m about to write yet another metaphor-laden blog post. Maybe I need to create an essay collection called Life in Metaphors…
A year ago this month I went to a conference for bloggers, the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged. I had already started writing a little for a couple of outlets, and had met a few local bloggers through that bit of work, but I met more at the conference and at other local events afterward. Attending the book-release parties was particularly inspiring for a wanna-be writer! Everyone has different experiences when thrust into a crowd of women… (hello!? drama can ensue!) but for me, the connection to this group of women has been overwhelmingly positive.
As I made the decision to start working as a freelance writer a few months ago, I was hopeful that my network of women who were already writing and managing clients’ social media platforms would be a good resource for information and advice, but it has become more than that. One of my friends, Jamie, has a successful freelance business, and was willing to sit down with me for lunch and offer her suggestions and encouragement soon after I made the leap. Then, last month, she asked if I was willing to do some writing for her when she had too much to do herself. Work with someone already doing what I want to do? Earn while I learn? Um, yes, please. 🙂
Then, this morning while I sat at the local coffee shop dutifully filling my calendar and figuring out what I needed to be doing with my days the rest of this week, I happened to run into another friend I have had the pleasure of knowing this last year. Jasmine is a fearless blogger, a social media maven, a roller derby queen, and a fantastic supporter of her friends and fellow writers. She’s put me in touch with great networking opportunities and people over the last year since we roomed together at AWBU, and has just been personally encouraging of my efforts to become A Writer. She asked what I’m doing now, and suggested that she might have some work that she could pass on to me as part of a new supervisory role she has taken on for a client of hers. I gave her a card and told her I’d love to hear more.
On our path through this life, we meet lots and lots of people. At least, I have. (Makes me wish I were better with names…) Some are broken or weak and are unable to support us as we go, and we have to put them aside. Or, better yet, be the bricks in THEIR road. Others are the bricks and stones that we need to lay in front of us on our road, the ones that we will be able to rely on as we move toward our goals and dreams. For me, this group of writers I have connected with over the past year or so have been exactly what I needed as I made the leap into working for myself. I didn’t know, when I went to AWBU a year ago, that I would be freelancing today. I may or may not have gone simply because Country Outfitter was offering a pair of free boots to all attendees. (<— keeping it real) But I was open to the experience of learning from those women and cultivating those relationships, and it has served me so well.
No matter where your path is headed, seek out those who are doing what you want to do… if you are an actor, hang out with actors (and casting directors! ;)), if you’re a designer, hang out with designers… pick their brain, follow their pages on Facebook and their blogs. Interact, attend workshops and seminars. Hand out your business card and collect theirs. If you don’t have a business card – create one RIGHT NOW!!! Shame on you… You never know, when you’re meeting new people, who will become important in your life. But as you travel your road, those cobblestone people will be there for you.