Several years ago, I went to an event at the New York Public Library where a panel was discussing comedy writing.
Four very prominent comedy writers talked about their experiences and insights, and then it was time for questions from the audience.
One audience member asked a very useful and predictable question: “How do you get a job as a comedy writer?”
One of the panelists gave an answer that I’ve never forgotten. She said, “You do what you love, and then your friends hire you.”
So many times in my life, I’ve found this to be true. When you do what you love, even in a non-job context, you make friends with other people who share your interests; as they move forward in the world, they help you move forward by providing opportunities and contacts.
My sister Elizabeth has talked about this phenomenon on Happier in Hollywood, the podcast she does with her writing partner Sarah Fain. When they were starting out as a writing team, Elizabeth started talking shop with someone she met at a beach party who ended up being a friend—and one of their most important professional contacts.
This may be especially true in creative industries. Often you get your start by creating something for fun; you engage with others to put it out into the world, and that brings opportunity.
Like a friend of mine who loved making videos. Because she found it so fun, she volunteered to make a video for the end-of-year party for her son’s kindergarten class. A fellow parent was so impressed that he hired her to do a book trailer for his book, and that became was her first gig in professional video production.
Do what you love, and then your friends hire you. It’s true for comedy writers, and it’s true for many people.