116: Why Writers Need to Build a Professional Network to Succeed

Your success as a writer is not solely dependent upon your ability to write. If you believe this, then you might be missing out on one of the most important pieces to your success: Your professional network.

No matter how much we want to believe that successful men and women are self-made, it’s just not true. At times in your life and career, you will need the help, support, and guidance from someone else.

Someone who will pick you up when you fall down. Someone who can teach you important lessons and even speak hard truths into your life. And someone who will walk alongside you in support as you take steps toward pursuing your calling.

Like most writers, I’m a little shy and found building a community really difficult to do at first. But I learned that this type of network and support I needed couldn’t be developed behind the comfort of my computer. It wasn’t until I stepped away from my writing and into a community when I not only began to forge key friendships, but began to improve as a writer and professional.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Andy Traub and I talk about the importance of building a community for your development and success as a writer. We also share some good and bad examples of building community, and practical steps you can take today to expand your professional network.

Listen in as Andy and I share my personal experiences and awkward moments in building my network and what I’ve learned along the way.

Listen to the podcast

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Show highlights

In this episode, Andy and I discuss:

  • Being intentional about creating community.
  • How stepping away from my writing and joining a community changed everything.
  • Finding and creating a community where you live.
  • Connecting with like-minded people.
  • Why real success comes from finding people who are as ambitious as you are.
  • Networking with people who are ahead of you and similar to you professionally.
  • What to do when you lack self-confidence in approaching others.
  • How to develop and maintain relationships after forming them.

Quotes and takeaways

  • Close your laptop. Put away your work. And step out into your community.
  • Wherever you are, there is some kind of opportunity to network.
  • Identify and network with people who are ahead of you and similar to you professionally.
  • Don’t worry about your perceived level of success. That’s not the point. The point is to connect with someone at your level.
  • A network is a relationship of people working together to give and receive.


What steps can you take today to connect with people who are ahead of you and similar to you professionally? Share in the comments.