Karen Misuraca, this month’s guest columnist – and coordinator of BATW’s September meeting – shares her thoughts about the support she has received over the years from BATW members and industry connections.

“We’re All in This Together!”

by Karen Misuraca

Lee Foster recently referred to his fellow BATW members as his “tribe” and I love that idea. Up against so many challenges as 21st-century journalists, our personal and professional relationships are more valuable than ever. Most of us toil away in isolation at home and on the road, and although we communicate with each other online, you know it’s not at all the same as being together, and if you’re like me, you sometimes struggle to stay motivated when you go too long without seeing tribal members.

Some time ago I looked back over my series of outlets and various ways of making money and getting published, and realized that nearly every one of those opportunities was the result of personally meeting with someone, whether at organization meetings, media events, press trips, or conferences. My very first guidebook lead came from an off-hand comment made by a writer at an informal confab; ultimately, I wrote several books for the same publisher. One of my longest lasting and most profitable relationships with a magazine was kick-started by meeting an editor at a writers’ conference; and, a BATW member put me together with a Bay Area magazine for which I have written dozens of features.

Over the years my tribe of comrades and industry acquaintances has made all the difference. We keep each other going when we have personal and professional downturns, and even catastrophes, and most people I’ve met generously share leads and contact info and opportunities.

I’m on the BATW Yahoo forum, which is great for finding out about press trips, media events and other opportunities. For members only, it’s a sort of private pow wow where you can ask questions, share the straight scoop about publications, and generally stay in touch between meetings.

Driving down from Sonoma to BATW meetings, and flying around the country (and the world) to conferences and press trips can often be, well, a pain, and time-and-money consuming. Parking in the city is a pain, BART is scary, long-haul flights can be nightmares, spending a whole day at a meeting or a tour or a conference uses up a lot of precious time. Well, do it anyway, connect with your tribe and keep your ears open and your relationships alive!

Hope to see you all at our panel on blogging in September, when we’ll be sharing some new and thought-provoking ideas with you.