I’m Here to Make Friends
Awhile back, Nathan Bransford linked to this video, which I think is amusing. It’s a montage of all these people on reality TV shows insisting they’re there to win the prize, not to make friends. If you watch any reality TV, you know “I’m not here to make friends” is a common attempt to justify being a total jerk.
In a way, I think this online community of writers, editors and agents is kind of like a reality show. We’re all living in this big house together, and many of us are competing with one another for a limited number of “prizes.”
I am here to win. I am here to sell books to publishers. Other agents are, too, and we are trying to fill the same limited spots on the same publishers’ lists. They’re my competition.
But I would never in a million years say (in the requisite snotty voice), “I’m not here to make friends” and then proceed to alienate every other agent out there.
As a matter of fact, I AM sort of here to make friends. I could easily do this job without ever going on Facebook or Twitter, and certainly without blogging. But that’s not how I’m wired. During the many years I spent in corporate America, I was always (to the chagrin of my bosses) down at the watercooler or the coffee pot or the lunchroom or my friends’ offices. I needed interaction. I liked talking to my friends.
Now I work alone in my office, and although I do have meetings frequently, I still need human interaction on a daily basis. That’s just how I function. So I love making friends with writers and editors and other agents.
What does this have to do with you? I think you’re here to make friends, too. And if you’re not, you should be. Publishing is a hard road and it can be a lonely business. Your spouse, your kids and your friends most likely won’t “get it.” I think it’s helpful and healthy to be part of a community of like-minded folks who understand you, and out of that you can develop some real friendships. Not to mention the fact that a lot of business gets done in this industry through friendships.
So don’t be afraid to be hanging out here because you want to make friends. There’s nothing wrong with it. And I think your life will be richer for it.
Q4U: Have you made real friends through hanging around in writing/publishing circles? Tell us about it.
P.S. to Nathan: I got this post idea from your post, “What I Learned About Writing While Watching Reality Television” which I thought was awesome. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Or is it plagiarism? I can never remember.