Making your personal network work for you is a problem looking for a solution.

A few days ago I got a very nice email from a man who had spoken at Fremont Area Writers (a branch of the California Writers Club).  He and his partner train people to make pitches for screenplays and novels, and they ran a workshop for us which was very popular and a true eye-opener.

Hearing from him jarred me.  I’m typically so busy being busy that I often forget to use the wonderful list of people I have who write, or support writers.  I’ve met a great many accomplished authors, agents, publishers, illustrators, and more, and yet I never manage to remember to keep in touch with them.  As “The Spleen” (Mystery Men) would say, “BIG MISTAKE!”

Even if you (and me) are still babies in the writing game, even if we haven’t yet published for pay, or gotten the kind of recognition we hope to have one day, it is imperative that we establish, and maintain, our network of friends and acquaintances in the biz.

If we wait until we really need these contacts to start collecting them, we’ll have missed a wonderful opportunity.

Now, before you get all squeamish, and think that this is a self-serving kind of thing (well, OK, perhaps it is, a little), consider this.  As you build your network of people who can “fill in the blanks” for you, you are also putting yourself out to “fill in the blanks” for others.  As they say, what goes around, comes around.  And that ain’t always bad.

Might I suggest that you (hey!  I’m talking to me, too!) start looking at a way to gather, maintain, sort and search, a contact list.  That you find a way to keep it current.  That you remember to touch each and every person on that list every couple of months or so, and that you start treating these people—and yourself, like the resources they and you are.

You’ve got a lot to offer.  So do the people you know.  And, I’d bet that most of them would love to hear from you.

Now, if you know of a good software package that manages this… I’d really like to hear about it.