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Jeanie Watson on self-promotion and being an introvert

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Before this Friday’s Lunchtime Bite: The Introvert’s Guide to Self-Promotion, Writers Victoria’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Jeanie Watson, shares with us a few tips on self-promotion and getting your work out there.

Jeanie joined Writers Victoria recently and in this interview she also talks about her role and the benefits of being part of a writing community.

You’ve recently joined Writers Victoria as Marketing and Communications Manager. What do you enjoy most about your new role?

I love everything about my role, but highlights include hearing from members who have been inspired to keep writing after attending one of our workshops or accessing one of our mentorships, and reading the Member Milestones because I know what a thrill members get from seeing their name in print and their milestones acknowledged!

We have a small, passionate team at Writers Victoria and, after living overseas for five years, I’m thrilled to be back in Melbourne and part of Victoria’s thriving arts scene.

Introvert or not, self-promotion is hard. Without spoiling your upcoming workshop, what can writers start doing today to promote their work?

Just starting is the key. Self-promotion is similar to writing. You can spend a lifetime thinking about writing but it’s the act of writing that makes you a writer. With self-promotion, you can think of all the reasons why you can’t or don’t want to, or feel overwhelmed about where to start, but by taking action, the path will become clearer as you try different ways to engage with your readers and other writers. If you’re a new or emerging writer, I suggest you start small. Talk about your writing with people within your close network. Once you feel comfortable calling yourself a writer, you can take the next step of sharing more about yourself and your writing.

Since Susan Cain wrote the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, it seems like we’ve seen more research about introverts and their personality traits. What can we all learn from introverts, particularly when it comes to communication?

We can learn a lot from introverts from their willingness to listen and observe. Their strength as listeners means when they speak, their words hold a certain power and weight. Introverts tend to be incredible observers, which is why they often make wonderful writers.

When it comes to marketing and promotion, what is the biggest challenge writers, artists in general, face today?

There is an overwhelming choice of platforms so I think writers might feel like they must be active on all of them. I recommend focusing on one or two options that feel the most natural to you. You’re more likely to want to put your energy into them rather than continually putting it off. Imposter syndrome, comparing yourself to others or feeling like there is no space for yet another voice in the arena can also stop people from sharing their work.

What books have you read recently that have made an impact on you?

I’ve just finished reading Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au, which won this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin. It is a small, unassuming book, written as a stream of consciousness, and explores the relationship between an adult woman and her ageing mother. There are no chapter breaks so once I started to read it just flowed, gently and peacefully. Reading it felt like I was immersed in a warm bath. I could have easily finished it in one sitting but when I really love a book, I tend to draw out the enjoyment as much as possible. I read this short novel over a few days and admire Jessica’s deceptively simple yet evocative writing.

Anything you’d like to add?

Just to remind our members to make the most out of your Writers Victoria membership. You’ve joined an incredibly supportive community, which offers opportunities to connect with like-minded people who understand what it’s like to be a writer. You aren’t alone. Sign up to Live Write reminders and write alongside others online. Sign up for a workshop to hone your craft. Submit a piece to The Victorian Writer. Set yourself a goal to share a Member Milestone this year. There’s something very special about being part of an organisation like Writers Victoria. We are here to guide you, support you and celebrate your success along the way.

There are still some tickets available for Jeanie’s online seminar Lunchtime Bite: The Introvert’s Guide to Self-Promotion which is free for Writers Victoria members to attend.

Not a member? Members of Writers Victoria receive up to 37% off the full price of our other workshops, seminars and courses. In addition, members have access to a range of other discounts and opportunities and receive a subscription to The Victorian Writer magazine. Memberships start from just $50. Find out more about becoming a member here.

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