There I was on the field at Yogi Berra Stadium, preparing to sing the National Anthem before a playoff game that involved local independent minor-league ballclub the New Jersey Jackals. A familiar looking ballplayer approached me and said, “We play your song in the clubhouse after every win and we hope to be playing it tonight.” I was stunned to know that the song I had written for the Jackals had become such an integral part of their off-the-field ritual.
And it really got me thinking: as an independent musician, as long as I’m sharing my creativity with those who want to engage with it, my works are making a difference to people who will attach their own meanings to the works, and more often than not, I won’t even know when it’s happening, or with whom. Or, as in the case with the ballplayer, I may stumble upon such a connection years later.
I write this to encourage my fellow creative people and the new generation of future creatives I may be entertaining now with my brand of children’s music. When you choose to create – music, writing, visual art, theatre or film, you will most likely go through very long stretches where it appears that no one is paying attention. The “likes” and “shares” you’re expecting won’t be there. Your videos are unlikely to “go viral.” The sales of that debut CD may not adequately reflect the effort and resources you poured into it. But if you see your creations all the way through and really put them out there, I have real reasons and personal history to believe your creations will matter to someone long before the accolades come back to you.
I heard a previous Oscar winning set builder talk about how the glitz and accolades of the Oscar ceremony is not the real Hollywood he knows – The sweaty workshops where he does the unglamorous work every day is the real Hollywood.
If you’re feeling hungry for applause, focus on doing what you love and remember why you love it. Imagine stumbling into someone 10 years from now who tells you how much he loves your song, painting, book, etc. and keep creating! Leave your personal story about sharing your creativity and making a difference to others in the comments.