I'm really baffled by young people who are joining LinkedIn right now. I say 'young', because I'm talking about people who have just graduated from university, or college, and have joined LinkedIn in order to start networking and make connections with people who are in the writing and publishing business and begin the long and often frustrating process of getting their careers off the ground.
The trouble is, they don't seem to understand who can help them, or how to cultivate the *right* kind of connections. They don't even seem to want to do much work, but seemingly have it all handed to them.
Every day I'm getting messages from people - more often than not between the ages of 18 - 21 - who've recently graduated and are working on their first novel (*still* working on it I must add, not finished, redrafted and completed and in a condition for publishers and agents to see it, but merely half-way through writing it) or are keen to go into a journalism career writing for film/music magazines, or people who want to write scripts for TV and cinema....
And who keep asking me to give them work.
Let's make this clear - they're not asking me to give them advice or guidance about how they can start making inroads with their careers or how they can advance to the next stage, they're not asking me questions about writing or the writing craft or even wanting me to take a look at their work and give helpful notes, comments and tips...
They're just messaging me asking me to give them work.
I'm even getting the occasional message from random strangers who aren't even connected to me on LinkedIn asking me to give them work.
Lets, for the moment, ignore the rudeness of that and instead concentrate on what's being asked of me...
Every day I'm having to politely and patiently explain that I'm a freelance writer; someone who is, by the very nature of my job, constantly searching for work myself. I'm not a film/TV or audio producer, I'm not a director or a magazine publisher, a script editor or a book publisher.
My bio on my LinkedIn page states that I'm a novelist and scriptwriter - that's all. I'm not in a position to give anyone any work. I'm not quite sure why I'm being confused for anyone who holds one of the positions mentioned above.
The only person so far who hasn't asked me for work instead asked me to help get them published as they were currently part the way through writing their first book. When I told them that my advice is to finish writing the book, then re-write, re-draft and get it to a point where they're happy with it and then and only then should they start approaching contacts and publishers, they didn't seem very happy and told me that other people had advised them to make contacts. I replied that it's 'always a good thing to make contacts, but the most important thing is the book, which needs to be finished first', they thanked me and slinked off.
As one of my writing colleagues on FB quite rightly commented - it seems that a lot of people like the idea of writing a book, but find the actual task of sitting down and getting it written to be intolerable. Again and again on social media we're seeing people who find developing a colourful online persona *as* a writer more important than actually sitting down and writing something. Their feeds are littered with pithy (and stolen) quotes from famous long-dead authors about the writing process, or their artistic frame of mind, or their love of being a writer, while their books and stories remain unfinished and forgotten. We see endless bios which state they're 'Aspiring Writers' - a term I find ludicrous. You are either a writer or you're not. You either write or you don't. You can aspire to be published one day...but if you write then you're a writer and it's absolutely fine to put simply 'Writer' in your bio.
It's really sad because I've now got to a point where I'm seriously considering not accepting any LinkedIn connection requests from anyone who's bios state they've recently graduated university/college or is below the age of mid-20s.