Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Know Thy Purpose

Recently, I signed up to participate in two different groups for writers. One is Rachael Harries’s Platform Building Campaign, where authors and bloggers at all stages, beginner to pro, come together to have fun and build their online platform. Check out her site for more details. In my opinion, she’s a visionary for starting this.

The other is Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group. IWSG is open to all writers, whether your self-esteem is shaky or solid. Share your insecurities or simply support others. Alex is a social media ninja and you can learn a lot from him.


Many writers have signed up to participate in one or both groups. However, I wonder how many have done so with focused intent. When I first started blogging, my goal was to establish an online presence for agents and editors. After nabbing an ever-elusive unicorn, a.k.a. agent (who found me online by the way), I needed to reexamine my purpose in blogging and define my objective if I ventured into Twitterverse.

Proceeding with blind excitement would not have been an efficient use of my time or the way to maximize the benefits in participating. Learned that lesson the hard way when I first started this blog. So, before signing up for either group or hopping on the tweeting bandwagon last week, I carved out a definitive purpose that would guide my actions.

Sure I want to have fun on the campaign, support others in IWSG (need to keep the good writer karma flowing), and establish authentic connections with new tweeps. Yet one of my goals, which will drive the way I interact, is to forge a network of like-minded, passionate writers that have a sincere desire to help others.

If you're going to invest time and energy, consider doing it for the long haul. That way when the campaign is over and beyond the one day a month meeting of IWSG, you will have an ongoing partnership of friends that you can rely on and in turn can depend on you.

For those who have signed up for Rachael’s campaign, the IWSG, or that actively tweet, please share. What is your purpose? What do you hope to gain in the long run through participating? There are no wrong answers.

46 comments:

  1. I live surrounded by non-writers and people who don't get me at all. My purpose for joining both groups is to interract with others who need the writerly support I crave. I'm seeking out the connections, the friendships, and the partnership of other writers. :)

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  2. I love getting to know other writers, who are on the same path. They understand the journey, the work, and the determination it takes. My hope was to connect with more like minded individuals.

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  3. I signed up for the two because of what the groups stand for. Rach's for networking and Alex's because I love supporting writers and can use some love myself. Great post and something to think about.

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  4. I'm a notorious non-joiner, so I haven't signed up for any specific campaign, but I do love participating in the online writers' community in general. You'll never find a more caring and supportive group of people, IMO. :)

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  5. Laila (comment #1) nailed it! I started my blog to connect with other writers. The support I've received cannot be measured.

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  6. I joined the Campaign to expand my circle of peers. I rarely join these events but the Platform Campaign was right up my ally.

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  7. Laila ~ Being a member of an active community of writers is healthy for authors (aspiring or published), especially since we spend so much time alone.

    Miranda ~ Our family and friends love us and want to support us, but only another writer understands and can truly sympathesize the bumpy journey.

    E. ~ Glad you know what you hope to get from it.

    Linda ~ I totally agree with you. Everyone should participate at the level they are comfortable with.

    East Coaster ~ Once you get started meeting people, it truly opens a whole new world of support. Isn't it great.

    Maria ~ So happy to be campaigning with you.

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  8. Really thought-provoking post, Isis. In the flush of excitement to be part of something fun with advantages, it's easy to forget focus. I got some new friends and blogging buddies out of the last campaign. I don't expect to 'click' with everybody.

    Last time we had to follow everybody but of course, the percentage of those I stayed in contact with is not huge. What I eventually realized is that some were in it for the increased number of followers. Once the campaign ended the visits ceased and I eventually had to cull my blogroll because even though I was visiting and posting at other romance writers blogs, there was no response from a small number of folks.

    I think we get out of networking what we put into it. I've met some wonderful people whom I never would have met otherwise and I've formed some valuable partnerships which are a great side benefit.

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  9. Here is my purpose for the platform-building campaign activities. I want exposure to readers. Don't get me wrong! I LURVE all the writer peeps I meet, but my goal is reader exposure. If I get this by being mentioned by a writer friend or getting to swap some blog exposure, then I will be thrilled. In return, I hope to expose my readers to works and new authors. Writers are awesome at helping to MARKET one another.

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  10. I love this post because I was worried that this campaign was not a very organic way to meet other bloggers and get my own blog out there. I didn't want to "sell myself on the street" for followers! lol. But I've genuinely connected with several people so far that have really made this experience worth it!

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  11. Isis! Great question. Really great.

    In truth, I joined the campaign because it seemed like "The thing to do." But we all have limited writing time, and running around to blogs for the sake of running around and commenting seems silly. I had a little revelation yesterday that I'll just add everyone to my Google Reader and then only comment on the blogging voices that consistently "grab" me. I'm hoping that will make this process of finding and getting to know kindred writing spirits more organic and useful.

    (Also: love your blog.)

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  12. I really hesitated to sign up as a campaigner because I questioned the time I had to commit. It's what took me so long. But I know the importance of networking -- and there are unexpected lessons and unexpected benefits in networking. But it's the connections with other people that are most important. Meeting people, developing relationships, is always important... even in the virtual world.

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  13. Wow, that post made me think! Honestly, I joined the Campaign because I, too, would like to establish an on-line presence, but more than that, I do want to connect with writers who are genuinely serious about their work and who are willing and able to help a fellow writer out. I want crit partners/beta readers, people who I can just gab with about this whole writing thing, and I want to pay it forward and be the same for others.

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  14. What is your purpose?
    My purpose, is to meet other writers who are working on books, stories are pieces, similar to mine. To hopefully gain some encouragement or insight.

    What do you hope to gain in the long run through participating?
    Energy. It's been a very hard year so far, with a lot happening in Feb-April that drastically changed my life. Since then, my creativeness has been sporadic at best. I described it in two ways recently... One uses a line from the movie Xanadu, where he talks about having left behind the job and all the requirements to draw what others want, and draw what he wants... Only to not have any ideas. He uses the line 'I thought it'. And that's me. I thought it. The other visual was that of a dementia patient, who is unable to get things from the brain to the mouth or hands... They seem to get lost. I have the ideas, but getting them out... I can't do.

    I'm on one of your groups for the Campaign, but in some ways I wonder if I shouldn't look to the other group as well.

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  15. Hi Isis! Thank you for visiting my blog! Very pleased to meet another fellow campaigner. Sorry I am not on Twitter. Will let you know if I get a Twitter account. :) Take care!

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  16. In the campaign, I'm trying to raise my blogging visibility (1) and seek out writers writing in my areas (2) - historical romance and spec fic - a combo that's been pretty hard to find. Locally I have found a lot of support for my hist romance but not specfic, and now I'm trying to find more folks online in the specfic realm. It can also be difficult to parse out the fandom-related sites from those actively writing SF and sources of inspiration, so the campaign has already been helpful from that perspective.

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  17. I've been meaning to get over to Rach's campaign and sign up and I'll probably sign up for Alex's group.

    I like to be a help to other writers which is why I have the blog I do. But, I'm also a writer. I first started out to get my name out there and had platform to accomplish that. I've done well, but I also know I'm going to have to set up a website that touches on my writing as opposed to focusing on other writers.

    I tweet and facebook fellow writers and my blog guests. I have a few friends I twitter with, although I don't spend a lot of time there. For twitter I need to plan what I want to accomplish. It's all too easy to lose track of time and I don't have any to spare for fruitless chatter. Be interesting to see what the group comes up with to address that. As it is, I hardly have time to comment on all my blogger friends blogs and I feel good if I manage that a couple of times a week.

    One of the things about creating a network of like minded writers is the support. Most of us are a pretty solid group when it comes to cheering others on or sharing our knowledge of writing, agents, publishing in general. And, Hey. We're also readers...

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

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  18. I'm signed up for Rachael Harrie's campaign. I felt one was enough, so I didn't sign up for Alex's, though I plan to visit.

    You're going to be busy! Have fun.

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  19. I signed up for Rach's campaign just because I love meeting new writers, and to Alex's because I thought that maybe, somewhere along the line, I might be able to help someone - or they might be able to help me! I'm afraid I didn't really think beyond that.

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  20. I'm in Alex's campaign as well as Rachael Harrie's.

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  21. Thanks for plugging the support group! My gain? To help others.

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  22. Great advice. It is so important to engage in one of these exercises with focus, but also sincerity. Supporting other writers is a GOOD thing, but not if it is done for self-promotion. Nothing burns me faster and causes an "unfollow" then a writer who constantly promotes herself on Twitter or the blogs and never interacts. The key word in "social media" is the social part. Looking forward to interacting with you. :D

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  23. Joining the Campaign is like finding a support group. I don't know any writers and a lot of times the people I interact with daily 'don't get me.' I like meeting new writers and making connections. It's awesome when someone totally gets me and so many of you do! I love it.
    We get to share joys and celebrations and sympathize and (cyber) pat each other on the back during the disappointments.
    It's a great community. :)

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  24. I love this campaign! It's awesome! I'm not in your campaign group but I just wanted to stop by and say 'hi'!

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  25. Nice to meet you fellow campaigner... can't wait to dive into your blogs:)

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  26. New follower. That header is really different than any other header I've seen. Come visit me over at Livre De Amour-Books of Love Blog.

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  27. I agree with your statement, "If your going to invest the time and energy why not do it for the long haul." Building a community is a giant part of blogging. Who wants to talk into empty space?

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  28. Hi Isis. I'm in both these groups but in both you only get out what you put in and really many of us are too busy to put in much, but we try! The IWSG should be great, whereas the campaign usually ends up being just gathering a lot of followers because there are too many to do anything very specific, but it's fun!

    D

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  29. My main focus in joining these things is to meet new people and get to see into someone else's world via their blog. I can't tell you how much I've learned, or how many times someone's viewpoint has altered my thinking since I started blogging just a short time ago. But I must admit, blind excitement is a big seller for me, especially with blogfests. I have a lot of fun doing the challenges, answering questions, trying to push myself to create something on a deadline.

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  30. I Tweet to interact with other writers and to talk to them outside of the blogopshere. I've met some really funny people on Twitter that I just love, and I think that's really my purpose, to find people I can talk to and laugh with.

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  31. I did her platform building one in the spring, and it was crazy but fun!

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  32. Glad you signed up! New follower here. My focus is really on just making connections with other bloggers. I have a main blog that I'm much more active on, so I want to give this blog more time as well :)

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  33. JL ~ Having realistic expectations is also important since there are so many participants.

    Brinda ~Ultimately, every writer wants more exposure to readers. Great foresight. As I wrote in my post, networking with writers was 1 goal. I just didn't mention the others. Good for you.

    Holly ~ I think it's natural to connect with a few folks that you'll remain buddies with. To form more partnerships that are also long-term, work will be necessary. But please don't pimp your blog :).

    Leigh Ann ~ It's important to have a plan, especially since there are so many participants. You will not gel with everyone, but knowing what you expect and having a way to proceed is great. I've got to start using my google reader :).

    Doralynn ~ Cyber connections are more important than ever with blogging and Twitter.

    Crystal ~ Wow right back. You want a lot, don't you? Good to know what you want so you can go after it.

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  34. KCarey ~ Nice to meet you. Gosh, you are dating both of us by referencing Xanadu. I vividly remember that film. Reach out to your other group. See what connections you make there as well that might energize your muse :).

    Len ~ Thanks.

    Bluestocking ~ That is a tough mix. Glad the campaign has already helped.

    Sia ~ I've seen you in Twitterverse. For that
    cyberspace forum, a plan is truly needed.

    Theresa ~ The campaign will require a lot more time, but Alex's IWSG seemed like a special way to give back.

    Sarah ~ That's okay. I was hoping more of us would give it some thought after reading my post.

    Michael ~ Way to go.

    Alex ~ You are the best.

    Tina ~ Being social is key. I think Shelley Koon said it best in her post yesterday. Social and sincere :).

    Amanda ~ It is a great community and we are lucky to have this opportunity to connect.

    Jess ~ Waves

    TF ~ Nice to meet you. I'll be diving into your blogs as well.

    Grace ~ I will visit you :).

    Kirsten ~ It's no fun if we are all alone.

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  35. Denise ~ Nice to know going in.

    Julie ~ No wrong answers :). Hope you have a lot of fun.

    Marlena ~ Great purpose. Hope you have contacted Twitteraholics. I wimped out :).

    Lydia ~ Crazy but fun sounds exactly right so far.

    Miho ~ Hi newbie! I'll swing over to your site later today :).

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  36. Fellow campaigner stopping by to say hi! Writer of fantasy, urban fantasy, and romance.

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  37. Hello, Isis... what a great post. I think questions like these help more to define us to ourselves rather than others. Which is very valuable, and something we don't often even realize we need before we can more accurately "walk out" who we are aiming to become. So, thank you for this little mind stretch.

    I started the campaign (never heard of the other till now) in response to a fellow writer who said she enjoyed it before, and it was a great way to jump into networking. I have really enjoyed meeting other writers from around the world. But somewhere along the line I realized that, for myself, I wanted to gear my blog more to readers than writers (I love all my writer friends, and will follow and keep them, of course)... which was another eye-opening thing for me because I didn't realize that when I first started out, either.

    So, all is good and what a productive experience so much visiting has been. Love your website, by the way, it's stellar.

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  38. I'm hoping to share stories, knowledge, and experience with other writers. Writing can be lonely at times so it's always nice to know that there are other like-minded people out there!

    Nice to meet you, btw!

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  39. Hi! I loved this post and enjoyed your blog. I am hoping to meet like-minded writers and journalists. Those who are also struggling and those who have made it. I also want to make new friends, where we can all stand up for and support each other.

    Hugs!!!

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  40. I joined the Platform-building Campaign because I want to network. I want exposure to a variety of ideas, to learn what works/what doesn't. I use Google Reader and have separated the blogs I follow into what's valuable for me. I recognize that most won't follow me when the campaign is over. Like being at a party-out of a 100 people, I might make 2 or 3 friends.

    I'm also focused on my readers. I don't expect everyone to make comments. I want people to enjoy what I write. That is the bottom line for me. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

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  41. Thanks for stopping by my blog - it's nice to meet you! I'm adding you to my feed. :)

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  42. Also, I love your name. So goddessy. :)

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  43. Hi, stopping by from the campaign. You have a great blog and I look forward to reading more from you :)

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  44. just stopping by from the campaign (you already have me on twitter) to say hi. great post.

    Jana Denardo

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  45. Part of the campaign; stopping by to say hello! Great blog you have here. Can't wait to take a look around. :)

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  46. Beautiful Header...NEW FOLLOWER.

    Stop by my blog if you like....I have three giveaways going on.

    Elizabeth

    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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