We talk a lot at Lifejacker about things you can do to be more productive or improve your personal performance. Often this involves a lot of keeping your head down and focusing on what you have to do, but as author Blake Butler writes, none of us work in a vacuum.
Photo by Lester Public Library.
In an old, somewhat bizarre post from his personal blog, Butler stresses to those who want to be a writer the importance of being "an open node":
BE AN OPEN NODE.
I am amazed sometimes by people who want to be writers and yet seem to know little to nothing about even the more popular journals, who don't read that actively, who don't buy literary magazines hardly ever but send out their own work constantly, who don't buy even their friends work, who etc,etc....Getting involved is being involved, and if you aren't actively promoting others, I don't know why in hell you'd think anyone would ever want to read or support you.
While Butler is directly addressing other writers, his advice holds for a lot of other industries as well. Keeping up with what your peers and offering even just a small measure of support serves a few purposes: it's a great way to grow your network, and it also can provide you with an array of case studies for things you'd like to try or improve. And, as Butler states, one good turn on your part can make all the difference when you need a hand down the road.