If you know me in person or have followed my blog for a while, you know that I deal with anxiety. As a blogger, I'm always invited to mixers and networking events to get to know the other movers and shakers in my area, but my anxiety has kept me from having a productive or even enjoyable experience in such large groups of people. It can be hard to break out of your own circle of existing friends and break into a new group of talented, successful, awesome people without feeling inferior or just totally overwhelmed.
Since I'm sure I'm not the only nervous Nellie out here in the blogging world (I mean, we do all hide behind our screens!), I wanted to share a few ideas for connecting offline with creatives in your community that don't require small talk or navigating big crowds.
01. Co-working | I mentioned in yesterday's post that I've recently started co-working with a group of local gals. Every Tuesday evening we get together, bring a few things to work on, bounce ideas off each other and get inspired for what's ahead. It was so nice to trade Instagram tips, get a second opinion on which outfit photos would do best on Pinterest, and brainstorm future post ideas. Blogging, or doing anything creative, 100% alone can be detrimental with no one to talk shop with or learn and grow from. Chelsea is a great connector of people and she just put a call out on Instagram inviting people to join us. This was such a cool way to involve new creatives we didn't already know and is definitely something anyone could recreate in their own community.
02. Workshops | I love attending creative workshops because there is something to do besides stand around and talk. When you're learning a craft or trying out a new skill, everyone is on a more level playing field and there are built-in conversation starters. One thing I've been really wanting to start is emailing bloggers and creatives in Austin who I think really excel at something we could all learn from and asking them to lead workshops. This helps me make a connection while also lifting someone up in my community and introducing their expertise to others. How cool would it be to pay it forward and create a whole line of people hosting workshops and inviting brilliant creatives to share their knowledge? Plus, who doesn't want to attend a workshop on styling Instagram shots, creating an editorial calendar, or writing more engaging content? It's a win for everyone!
03. One-on-one | The number one way I have gotten to know my local bloggers and makers is through one-on-one dates. Is there someone who inspires you that you've always wanted to talk to? Send her an email. Is there someone you follow who you think you'd just be the best of friends with if only you met offline? Leave an Instagram comment proposing brunch (who says no to brunch?). Or, did you meet someone at a workshop or co-working event that you'd like to get to know better? Set a date to meet for drinks one night to really have a chance to talk.
We have all of these social media platforms constantly at our fingertips, so let's use them to get offline and connect in person! Don't wait for the next networking event to meet someone new, especially if mixers are more stressful than satisfying.
Still working on finding consistency in your creativity? Check out my 5 tips for maintaining a creative life!