Monday, October 20, 2014

This Writing Life 13: Finding Supportive People (because we need them)

(Lucky 13th post of This Writing Life! Yay!)

So, substitute job for “baby” and this pretty much sums up some days:

So how do you find supportive people when you’re a work at home type?


You are not the only writer/freelancer/consultant/whatever out there. There are a lot of us, and knowing where they hang out it a step closer to finding people who can become your colleagues and friends.


Online networks are a great place to meet folks in similar situations, get advice from those who have been in the business longer than you, get tips on jobs and warnings about scams. A good place to start is LinkedIn, but there are also forums and other professional groups out there, whatever your field is.

WARNING: Online networking can also be a massive time waster, because it is the Internet and that’s what it does. Schedule your time appropriately. Also, online networks won’t get you out of the house and away from your computer, which you need to do regularly and often.

Professional Associations

If you live in a major centre (and I do) chances are there is a branch of your professional association, and chances are they have regular meetings. Find out:

  • Who they are
  • Where they are
  • What they offer and 
  • How much they cost (because no professional association is free).
 If they look like a good fit for you, find out if they have introductory meetings or seminars so you can see what they have to offer.  It will cost  to join, but it can be worth it to know that you have a direct connection with people in your field.


Many associations have formal mentoring programs, which can be a great deal of help.  To have someone who knows your business and knows the struggles you are going through is a wonderful thing.

You can also ask a senior professional in your field to be your mentor, if you know one. Before you do this, set out guidelines as to what, exactly, that will mean in terms of time commitment, what your expectations are what your mentor should expect of you, as well as how often you should get together.

Type “professional mentoring programs” into Google to get some ideas or to find an existing program that could work for you.

Friends and Family

This gets tricky, because these folks care about you but may not support what you are doing. The key is to figure out which ones will lecture you about your life choices and not use them for support. Arrange to spend more time with those who support you. Go for coffee with your friends. Talk about your lives and your work and all that good stuff. It’s gets you out of the house and hey, coffee!

Building Your Own Network

Chances are not the only work-from home person  in your community, unless you live in one of these towns. So reach out, either through the local paper, local online business associations, or through notices at local businesses that support your work. Find folks in similar situations and set up an association, even if that just means a monthly meeting at the local watering hole.

And that’s it for lucky 13.

Next Week: Why I Hate Writers’ Groups and Why You Might Want to Join One

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