A long time ago, when I still worried about what career I should have, a mentor told me that I should hang out with the type of people I wanted to become. I remember imagining a group of bankers and me dressed up and pretending to be a banker, wandering amidst them. No, I didn’t want to become a banker. But I wasn’t sure what the advice meant.
It isn’t that hard. It’s the “dress for success” idea. It’s as simple as studying with people who get the grades that you want to get. But it’s really, really a great idea for creative-types. If you want to be a singer, then you should be where singing happens, and where other singers are likely to be. If you want to be an actor, getting a job adjacent to a bunch of actors — even if you’re the person who hangs up their coats — isn’t a bad strategy. Being amid other wannabes is good, too. Take an acting class, audition for a local play. Ask someone there (someone who looks like she’s an inch better at it than you are) out for coffee.
So, for writers, there’s a lot to simply getting up every day and writing. And then there’s the whole reading-good-books thing (my favorite way to hang out with writers, being the introvert that I am). But you might, now and then, also look for opportunities to hang out with flesh and blood writers.
Today I’m following that advice and going to Northwest BookFest: http://www.nwbookfest.com/. I’m working a two-hour shift for LitFuse, 2:00-4:00. If you’re there, come by and hang out with me.