Often, it’s been said “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” If two painters are equally talented, but one of them is friends with a local art salesman and the other is not, one is more likely to succeed than the other.
Whether or not we want to believe in the adage, it proves true time and time again. It applies to your friendships, your job, even your hobbies.
The expression’s origin isn’t tacked down entirely, but the earliest written use of it dates back to 1914, but didn’t become popular until around 1940.
May 1914, The Electrical Worker, pg. 233, col. 1:
Many devious forces apparently also control the conditions of advancement and preference, and a phrase that is often heard is to the effect that it’s not what you know that counts so much, as who you know!
We may like to think that we can surf by on just our talent and ability, but networking is just too important to forgo. Thankfully, in today’s society where everyone and everything is connected thanks to the internet, that has never been easier.
A prime example of knowing the right people in the right places, is a YouTuber I enjoy, JackSepticEye. He got a major bump after being featured in a YouTube shoutout from one of the most infamous YouTubers ever, PewDiePie. That’s not to say Jack isn’t a good entertainer on his own, it’s just hard to show that off if no one knows who you are. The same applies with any art or business model – you have to advertise.
That’s the tricky part of “making it” as a writer. It’s often a rather lonely art or career. We find ourselves isolated because the physical act of writing is not a group experience. The life events that you draw from when writing might be, but when it comes time to put pen to paper, or bust out the typewriter, or plug your headphones into the laptop… You’re by yourself. You work alone, at your pace and with your own words. No one else’s.
And that part is all fine and dandy, that’s the part of writing that we all enjoy. We like the solitude of it, we like the way we feel when we complete the task for ourselves. However, that’s where the solitude ends and the networking begins.
I never knew that building a writing career meant knowing so many people, and working with so many of them. You don’t think of writing as a team sport, but it really is.
There is so much to do with editors and marketers and promotions and book signings and official designs and even the freaking copyrights that it’s impossible for just one person to do it alone. You’ve got to have a strong team, and a working system.
I’ve always wanted this. By this, I mean published novels and to be a writer and blogger. Since I was a kid I’ve been writing down ideas and telling myself stories over and over. You could ask my mom, I used to talk to myself!
That means – you guessed it – going out into the… real world.
That’s been relatively painless, though, thanks to the newly non-profit-certified South Dakota Writes group that I’m a part of. It’s really amazing to look on it, and how I joined a small Facebook group just a few months ago and to have watched it explode into something extraordinary in that short amount of time. But to see that taking place has not only kept me rooted here in South Dakota, but it’s inspired me to keep going and to reach out to other writers.
I’ve met several writers in different points of their personal careers and development, with entirely different lives from each other. Another writer who is just starting out, like me, would be one Irene Elliot who has her first novel published and ready to go at any time. I also met Kelly Van Hull, also known as Kay Kadinger who has written a few novels.
Both of these ladies are YA authors, and that just blows my mind! I’m not the only one who takes this genre seriously! It’s just so much fun to play in.
I also met a more well-known author, with over 70 books published and a New York Times Bestseller title under her belt. #LifeGoals. Her name is Tamara Rose Blodgett and she knows me! Can you believe it? Someone with relative fame knows me, now!
It’s a really cool feeling to see all these people who are just like me, and how they’ve gathered in the same place as I have. It makes the networking part of things not so bad!
This is the start of great things. The longer I hang around this crowd, the more I will learn and grow, and the better I will become. That will reflect immensely on my books. Tides are turning and good things are piling in for this young writer. I am determined not to waste these opportunities.
If you’re looking to network and connect with other people of like minds, be it for writing, painting, gaming, collecting, you name it, there is a Humanities Council in just about every American state. No matter how socially inept you are (I mean, just look at me) it is so worth it to try and branch out. And, who knows, you might be able to help someone else just as they helped you, one day.
If you’re interested, check out this site!