Do talk to strangers

16 03 2014

But how?

I was at a networking/gala event last night, where some industry people — agents, publishers, media contacts — were all gathered. But I, along with the other inferior students of the Creative Writing program, didn’t know how to breach the barrier to go talk to them all. We had no idea who the hell they all were. So most of us sat around and talked amongst ourselves the whole night. I talked to one guy who I recognized from a workshop last year, but when I told him I was a student in the undergrad program, he didn’t seem interested in talking to me anymore. Then again, that could have been just imagination. Either way, he left the conversation and I was back to the comfort of my classmates, who were trying to work themselves up to talk to John K. Samson. Clearly, this was not an event for students, although ideally, it should have been.

Many writers do not have social skills. Young writers especially do not have the social skills to approach a stranger who could potentially be a published author and strike up a conversation. On the other hand, adults who seemingly know each other, didn’t have a problem with it.

My partner-in-crime for the night, Wendy, helped to stagnate our process by talking about who we going to talk to and trying to figure out strategies instead of actually doing it. It probably didn’t help that most everyone was already talking to others, so it would’ve been incredibly dickish to interrupt and join them (at least in my mind, where I really dislike when people do that as I’m talking to someone). So it’s no wonder the lot of us were spread out on the beanbag chairs, looking around at all the published authors, the agents, the publishers — and being unable to pass through that door.

How is one supposed to do it? Get the stragglers? Insert yourself in a group?