Today is the first anniversary of this blog and I've been thinking about all that's happened over the course of the year. It reminds me of the importance of being open to people and reaching out to others. Nothing good happens if you sit alone in your home day after day. Read on to see what I mean.
In May of 2008, I was reading my Washington University in St. Louis Alumni Magazine when I noticed a blurb about a fellow alum who had just had a book published. Her name was Julie Compton, and though I didn't know her at school, I was really excited about her news. I sent her an email congratulating her (this is the reaching out to others part), which set off a chain of events I never could have predicted.
- Julie responded and we began an email correspondence.
- I visited her blog and was inspired to start a blog of my own.
- It was either on her blog or website that I noticed a link for Inked-In, a social networking site for writers, artists, and musicians.
- I joined Inked-In and that site became the outlet for a lot of pent-up creativity, not to mention the exciting exchanges with other crazy, creative types.
- In the meantime, I bought a copy of Julie's book, Tell No Lies, and started reading. I enjoyed it so much, I sent her an email detailing my thoughts.
- After several emails back and forth, Julie asked if I would be interested in becoming her beta reader. Hell, yeah!
- Shortly thereafter, I found out that my novel, The Benefactor, was being considered for publication. I needed to get it in as good shape as possible before submitting it in its entirety to the requesting editor. Guess who helped me out with that. That's right--Julie's advice and editing tips were invaluable and will provide a foundation to make my next book better than it would have been.
- Meanwhile, I was making lots of new friends at Inked-In. As a result of joining, I met a fellow novelist (and screenwriter) from the UK, Richard Lamb, with whom I am now collaborating on my next novel, a romantic comedy.
- In his previous life, Richard was a graphic artist and he generously offered his assistance in coming up with the cover concept for The Benefactor.
- As if things couldn't get more exciting, I was talking to Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor, a new friend and one of the founders of Inked-In (along with Joseph Reed Hayes), and by the end of the conversation we had decided to book a trip to Scotland with some of our other writer friends. For ten days in August, I'll be living in a former 17th century church that has been converted into a beautiful residence. It'll be great to meet everyone face-to-face (Skype isn't quite the same thing) and we'll also do some planning and scouting for a possible group writing venture.
- The months were quickly ticking by, and I suddenly realized I needed a website for my book launch. Once again, Richard stepped up and offered his assistance. I'm hoping to announce the new site by the end of the summer.
It has been a whirlwind of a year--a year that would have been radically different had I not met Julie Compton.
I've always been a bit envious of aggressive networkers. I just don't have that in me. But sometimes a simple hello is all it takes to make new friends and spark a chain of magical events.