Over the years, I’ve done a lot of waiting around for opportunities to come my way. Some I’ve jumped on, some I’ve dithered too long over, others have passed me by completely.
But, you can’t always sit back and wait for opportunity to come knocking. Because it very rarely does.
And, if you find yourself complaining that there’s nothing out there for you, or nothing in your local area, then this blog post is definitely for you. Time to pull up your socks, and start creating your own opportunities.
Step 1: Just ask.
I remember the first time I asked an author how they managed to get an opportunity, and they said “I just asked.” Honestly? I didn’t believe them. I scoffed. I figured there must have been something else. Something they weren’t telling me. Some secret thing that I didn’t know. I was wrong. Seriously; just ask. The worst thing someone can say is ‘no’, and always remember that every ‘no’ is one step closer to that ‘yes’.
Step 2: Network as much as you can with as many people as you can.
Both online and in real life, other authors are your allies, not your competition. Build real, honest relationships and friendships with your peers. Give more to your network than you take. Be available, and approachable, and vocal. Some of the best opportunities I’ve had have come via my network of peers. Be an active member, keep your ear to the ground, and be the person everyone thinks of first when they have an opportunity to share.
Step 3: Start close to home.
Have a look at what is available in your local area. Is there a writing group, a literary convention, an independent bookstore, a library, a reading group? Get out and meet people on your home turf. If there are none of these things, start them. Create a writing group in a local cafe, or a reading group in a pub, or a mini library at the end of your street. If the opportunities don’t exist, make them.
Step 4: Think outside the box.
Much as I hate that phrase, it’s a great idea in this instance. Don’t just think about typically bookish places. In my town, I sell books in a local art gallery. I simply went in, introduced myself, and asked. Where can you sell books locally? Are there craft markets, or farmer’s markets that you can have a stall at? Are there independent shops that might stock them? Try something out of the ordinary, something no one else has thought of.
Step 5: The sky is the limit, and the world is your oyster.
Just give it a go. Try it. Because you never know where it might lead you. For instance, I approached my local library with an idea for a small author event. The idea grew into a huge sci-fi and fantasy convention, which saw almost 2000 people through the door. I’m now organising the 2nd convention, and it’s going to be even bigger.
So, don’t wait around, hoping that the chances might fall into your lap somehow. Go out there, and make your own opportunities happen.
This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. You can visit all the participating blogs, or sign up yourself, HERE.
11 thoughts on “5 Steps to Creating Your Own Opportunities”
Networking with other writers has been such an important part of my author journey. Love that a small event turned into something with over 2000 participants. What a great success!
Honestly, I’m still bowled over by it! I totally agree; networking with other authors is so important, and offers genuine, long-lasting friendships.
Great post. I’m still struggling with the talking to people to find those opportunities. There are two local indie bookstores I’ve wanted to approach about maybe carrying my books, but I chicken out each time. Your post reminds me I need to put myself out there if I want to make headway.
Yeah, it is so scary, and I’m always wimping out of such things! Here are my tips: Try contacting them first via email or social media. Set up a time to come in and meet them. That way, they’re expecting you, so you’re not distracting them when they’re busy. And, it makes you commit to turning up. Also, completely clear your schedule for that day. Don’t give yourself any excuses to find something ‘more important’ to do. And, finally, just be your wonderful self. Trust me; it is NEVER as bad as your anxiety tells you it will be!
You definitely have a vision and are brave enough to chase it. Congrats to you. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
Thank you so much! It’s taken a long time to build up that courage!
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All of this is excellent advice! Just put yourself out there. Ask. Make contact. Bring a buddy along if you need the moral support. So much of success really is just showing up, over and over and over again.
You’re so right! Taking that first step, and taking the risk of being rejected is scary, but the rewards are so, so worth it!
I have lots of online writing buddies, but I have yet to join/meet a local group. One day!
What’s stopped you so far?
Great ideas! I have a couple friends who live in areas that don’t have any writing get togethers. I’ve tried to encourage them to create their own. So far, none of them have. I’m lucky to live in an area with a ton of writer’s groups, conventions, conferences, author-friendly establishments, etc. I know not everyone is that lucky.