One of my favorite phrases is “show up,” defined as, “to become involved with others and make an active contribution.” Nothing happens if we don’t show up – that is, get involved, make a contribution. Showing up is as important today as it ever was, even virtually. When we choose to show up, we learn, grow, help others, and expand our social and business networks.
Where to Show Up
Show up to virtual events that intrigue you, where your people are, or where new people of interest to you are gathering. Find topics of interest and unique formats and experiences. Sign up and show up for webinars in and outside your industry. Take the networking call. Stretch your comfort zone. We always learn more than we think we will.
Learn Something New
Tara Sullivan, author of two YA novels, Golden Boy and The Bitter Side of Sweet, hangs her manuscripts up on a long wall in her study. She uses a color-coded highlighting system for main character descriptions, dialogue vs writer’s voice, action vs reaction. She relies on these visual elements to edit and balance her writing. When describing hanging her manuscript on the wall, she told the story of her husband giving her painter’s tape so when she removed the manuscript, it wouldn’t remove the paint. Painter’s tape! As someone who uses painter’s tape to layout furniture and wall hangings, I’d never thought to use painter’s tape in this way. That was my new learning. As a result, my walls look much better now.
Discover a New Way to Do Something
Based on the description of Sullivan’s talk, I attended to get tips on writing a book synopsis. However, I wasn’t expecting was to learn something new that would apply to my own craft. She spoke about how she reaches out widely to get feedback, from New York to California and Maine to Texas – from young adult readers with different interests, to teachers and librarians with different levels of experience and influence. I was intrigued. Not only does she ask her readers questions for feedback, but she also asks her readers for questions that she uses to build comprehension, pique curiosity, eliminate confusion, and keep her stories satisfying. Asking questions of target audience and influencers is a big part of my work. Asking for questions was the new takeaway.
Stay for the Q&A. Listen to the questions being asked and how they’re answered. Questions – and comments – go off in all kinds of interesting directions during the Q&A. Ask your own question to be part of the conversation, expand your learning, and satisfy your curiosity. Reach out and follow up with people who asked interesting questions and were insightfully engaged. Sometimes, the best insight and connections happen in this final part.
Keep showing up and keep learning – and don’t be surprised if you see me there.
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