Toiling In Obscurity

Can you be happy creating, when no one has any idea who you are? I think you can.

I know a lot of writers who really love the idea of having written, but they’re not so big on the writing part which, often to their horror, is a lot like… work. The same goes for actors. I know a lot who are in love with the idea of being actors (i.e., famous), but they’re not so much into rehearsal and training and research and preparation. You know, the actual work of being an actor.

Late last year, I did the JellyVision Show podcast and we were talking about the mid-Atlantic and specifically the DC/Baltimore/Richmond area and how vibrant it is, especially for actors, and I pointed out that it takes something to be an actor here, namely a desire to be an actor (and not just famous). Put another way, if you’re working here, you’re working because you love the work. I say this, because, except in rare cases, it’s unlikely to bring you much more than more opportunities to work. Some call this toiling in obscurity — and I get the sense they hate it. Others call it a dream come true, because hey — they’re working.

Maybe someday you will be famous, or even just commercially successful, but despite the doors that will open I bet you’ll also miss the freedom you had when no one knew who you were. Toiling in obscurity (can we just say working instead of toiling, and maybe find a nicer word than obscurity, too?) means you can take risks, switch genres on a whim, do your most daring work. If this describes you, treasure it while you can. The work ethic that comes with toiling often leads to bigger and better things.