While many writers (ahem) find it easier to communicate with strangers through words on paper, the unfortunate truth for the schmooze-shy is that nobody can avoid networking. Because even if you manage to become a successful writer with no networking, at that point there will be invites to community events, readings, signings, and for the really (un)lucky - media involvement.
But what if instead of "networking," we "connect," as writer Christina Katz suggests? What about not feeling pressured to chat up a large number of people, and instead concentrating on finding a few people in the crowd with genuine common interests?
Now that sounds much more approachable.