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  • Writer's pictureHolly

Hindsight Being 20/20 (it really is "All Who You Know")

I've decided to start a new series here called Hindsight Being 20/20 where I will share all the things I wish I would have known/understood early in my writing career.

This will be my public service to my fellow writers on the path because, why should you have to suffer the scrapes and arrows of these easily avoidable mistakes, when I've already done it for you? I've made a lot of beautiful, glorious mistakes in my career and my mishaps can be your bounty. So subscribe and enjoy if you want me to keep them coming. ;)

The first in the series is entitled "It's All Who You Know".

As a young, overly idealistic, and largely introverted, writer in Hollywood, with not a single friend or family member in the entertainment biz, that phrase, which everyone seemed to throw around so freely, occurred to me like a mean ole threat.

It felt like they were saying to me "it's a club, kid. And you're not in it. So you better find some connections here, and fast". This set me off on a less than pleasant trail where, a normally, fully authentic me, was just weird, and not at all myself, when it came to trying to make contacts at networking events.

I was in good company. You could count me amongst the masses of creative hopefuls showing up to screenings, premieres and events, trying to squeeze themselves into some kind of enticing package that they imagined some well-connected Hollywood type would find instantly appealing and insist on immediately doing everything under the sun to help make their dreams come true.

And here's your first tip in this series: this behavior never works. In fact, it's just weird and everyone knows what you're doing. You become the thing they avoid, at best. Or their easy prey, at worst. Not to mention the only true shot you have, is if you're being one hundred percent fully yourself, and no one can be fully themselves while they're angling for something they're pretending they're not angling for. Just don't do it.

What I wished I would have known back then, is that the "it's all who you know" thing is so much deeper than it sounds. It's true. In Hollywood, or probably anywhere really, you need your people who have your back. The people who believe in you. The people that will refer you when they hear about a job. The one's who know your work. Who care about your success. Who will champion and go to bat for you. Give you that third party credibility. The more people you have like that in your corner, the higher the chances you're going to experience success at whatever you are going after.

But those kinds of relationships don't happen in a day. Frankly they don't happen in a week, or even a year. Particularly when it comes to something as deep, and that requires as much trust, as the writing path does. Those relationships take years and years to develop. And they often don't happen by you trying to shoot straight to the top or get something from anyone. They aren't transactional relationships, even though they end up benefitting you that way by default.

These are the kinds of relationships that mostly happen amongst peers, and maybe a few mentors here and there. You have to "grow up with them so to speak". If you're at it long enough, some of those folks you "grew up with", the one's you supported and nourished as much as they nourished you, will become those important people "that you know". To newbies you'll look like that "lucky one" with all the relationships.

I get it. Writing is a challenging path. It might already feel like an impossible juggle just to make sure you're getting your writing in amongst the day job and giving time to your non-writer, non-industry family and friends. That was always my problem. I love people, and I am not inherently transactional, there was just never enough time. Which is why I was relying on my subpar networking-in-order-to-get-an-opportunity skills, and my talent, to speak for itself. But, take it from me, no matter how great your talent, it will never speak for itself (more on that in another blog).

So start building those relationships. Start now. Start today. I don't care if you're 80. It's never too late to connect and build a community with your fellow creatives. Put it in your calendar to make sure you are devoting at least one day a month to it. And do it right. Do it without an agenda. Just a slow and steady build up of your friendships, and one day you will find yourself thrilled about the fact that it really is "all who you know" and that you adore the people you know. They've made the path all the more sweet.

***If you're inspired, but don't know where to start, consider joining our new Writer's Gym. There you can sign up for our monthly Writer's Workouts where you'll meet the Loving The Process writing community, and get inspired by our writing prompt exercises. Building relationships will be built right into your schedule and best of all, it's FREE. So Join now! We'd love to see you there.

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1 Comment

Susan Jizba
Susan Jizba
Feb 01, 2023

So Absolutely True, Holly! Thank you for telling it like it is.

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