As labour day comes to an end, it's a time of change for all writers, regardless of whether or not they're going back to school, or know someone that's going back to school. That's why I decided to sit down for a bit and share some great tricks, for writers that want to meet people platonically, non-platonically, and/or professionally.
Writers are solitary creatures, and that has its advantages, because it allows us to have the necessary attention span for putting all those thoughts and ideas on paper, but it doesn't make the act of meeting people all that easy. Sometimes evenings spent with nothing but your cat (if you have one) and non-judgemental, quiet activities such as watching tv and reading a book is a lot more enticing.
I'm going to start off by saying I'm sometimes, 100% guilty of all of the above, and if it wasn't for all the Extroverted friends and family members I'd probably be an Emily Dickinson like figure of sorts. For those of you that don't know who Emily Dickinson is, and/or are unfamiliar with her backstory she was a poet that lived with her family, throughout her lifetime, while writing hundreds, and hundreds of beautiful poems, and living a secluded, hermit lifestyle. I love my Extroverted friends because they push me to get out there, and talk to people more, while sympathizing with my Introverted nature.
Many of my favourite people are also extremely introverted. I deeply respect them because they creatively put their deep thinking, introverted brains to good use, and are full of insightful perspectives on the world around them. Something that came up in a lot of my Career Addict articles is my passionate belief that there's nothing wrong with quiet alone time, and it's important to respect people's desire for it.
Here are a few online and offline tips and tricks I've learned on meeting people, that I guarantee that my quiet, writerly friends will find helpful:
1. So many sites for meeting people exist. Use them, and use them wisely:
Sure there are horror stories out there, but if you think about it there are also horror stories about people that have met people offline that are equally as horrible. Regardless of how you meet people sometimes weird and freaky stuff will happen and honestly, the only way to avoid that 100% is to never leave your home. Even though I'm extremely introverted I definitely hate the idea of that, and am pretty sure I'd go crazy after a while, if I had to do that.
My first few months after finishing college I experimented with everything from sites for finding out about groups and events, where local people, with mutual interests tend to hang out, such as meetup.com, to online dating, to a site for platonic friendships called Friendship DNA. I found all of the above great ways to meet people close in age, while attending events filled with people that were geeky about the same stuff as I am. It's not always easy to make time, to meet people, and find out about local events, that are beneficial on both a personal and professional level and that's why these sites exist. My only word of advice, for people that are afraid of being a horror story is the following: use common sense, and listen to your gut instincts and if someone or something seems a bit fishy get a second opinion from someone you care about.
2. Join A Club, Take A Class:
A lot of writers, especially the full time ones are poor, I get it, but joining a club or taking a class doesn't necessarily entail spending hundreds, and hundreds of dollars on tuition fees, supplies, etc, a 100% of the time. Community centres and libraries are great ways to join valuable causes, clubs, and take classes while paying either tiny, highly affordable fees, or attending for free. If you're religious your local mosque, church, synagogue, etc might also have affordable, events and classes you can participate in your spare time. If you live the whole "artist in a garette" lifestyle, without participating in communal activities not only will it negatively affect your writing but it will also make it way harder to meet new people, and make necessary connections.
3. Consider Volunteering For A Cause, Event, Or Organization You Care About:
If you want to meet people, while simultaneously making your resume a little bit better consider volunteering for a not for profit or arts event, that supports something you care about. Places that work with volunteers don't require a full time commitment so it's surprisingly easy to juggle volunteering with a job or other responsibilities. It might even lead to better, (paid) opportunities, and maybe even your next writing project! Everywhere from hospitals, to homeless shelters, to not for profits, and even your favourite festivals and annual events rely on volunteers, and are always happy to add more volunteers to their roster.
4. Try New Things:
It's way too easy for things to get too comfortable. Sometimes people get stuck in a predictable pattern, and spend week, after week, after week, at the same malls, street corners, shops, bars, and restaurants. I find the people I know that do that comforting because no matter what happens, and what curveball life throws in anyone's direction they'll cling to the exact same daily routine but branching out, and diversifying how you spend your morning, afternoon, and evening is the only real way to increase your chances of meeting people that will improve your life in some shape or form. Little things like trying new activities, trying new meals, bars, and restaurants, and/or learning a new skill you have not yet acquired is a great way to do that.
These are just a few tips/suggestions but keep in mind that different things will work for different people. Make sure to balance quiet, writing/reflection time, with people time, so that you can get out there and have valuable, meaningful experiences.