That's what my Magic 8-Ball has been telling me for days. And it just makes me shake the dang thing harder...and then I can't see the new message through the bubbles. Sigh.

I was issued a challenge last week to do more networking. Ugh. Networking just sounds evil, doesn't it? Schmoozing is a bit better, but only because my version of it involves shopping for a new outfit first. ;)

But seriously, networking works. No matter what business you're in, it's all about who ya know. And as tempted as I am to distract myself with busywork or reading more fabulous books, the one sure way I can learn about new opportunities or whassup in the writing world is by doing that networking thing.

My current approach to the nettage is to be the one people come to. You know, the crazy one. The one bearing coupons. Or the one who knows someone who might know something.

Trouble is, this works really well for other people, not so good for me. Sure, I rack up some karma points and perhaps get some new coupons in return, but it's not expanding my network -- and that's where the real opportunities are.

Of course, that means stepping out of my nicely decorated comfort zone. Even after I pulled out the comfy blanket to curl up in while I watched The Biggest Loser.

Tomorrow will be a new day because I have a new mantra:

What Would Madonna Do?

It's not so new. WWMD is a phrase that carried me through high school, a bad hair-dyeing experience that left me looking like a skunk and having a copywriting instructor who felt that he wasn't challenging me enough unless I burst into tears. Well, that's the way I remember it anyway.

But Madonna wouldn't cry. Sure, she might dye her hair nasty colours and wrap herself up in black plastic, and stand in the middle of a church carrying a flaming cross, but she wouldn't let a little thing like being antsy about networking get in the way of achieving her goals and dreams.
Would she stand next to the buffet table during an event? Nope.

Would she put off following up with someone for so long that the person who invited her to follow up forgot all about meeting her? Uh-uh.

Would she avoid going after what really wanted because she was afraid to? No freaking way. She'd sing "Express Yourself" over and over again.

So instead of shaking a Magic 8-Ball wondering why I'm getting the same-old-same-old "better not tell you now" answer, I'm gonna start working the room. And, like Madonna, I'm not gonna limit myself to just one.

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