Oftentimes when people find out I’m both an actor and a writer, I get the question, “wow. That’s a lot. Which would you pick if you had to choose?
That’s actually a valid question, and a natural one to ask. Being an actor requires a tremendous amount of drive, focus, dedication, discipline, and patience. It isn’t a career for the person who requires results now, or in five years, or ten, or even fifteen. It is more often than not, a career path that is a “slow burn” of success-building over the course of years. Faith and luck play a large part in the pursuit of an acting career, and it is my personal opinion that it requires a certain degree of insanity to pursue such a path.
Now, what’s rather funny is that everything I just described above applies to being an author. Every single bit without exception. One might write a dozen books before “possibly” starting to see substantial results. Living in both careers for eight years now, I can personally attest to it feeling like being the proverbial salmon swimming not upstream, but up a waterfall. The odds are ever against you until you reach the top. Now, I don’t refer to the top as being number one, but rather, being able to support oneself with one’s work. Most artists either consider that the goal, or at least the first stage of their goal. And since I’m beginning to burble, I’ll get to the point. Choosing.
When I’m writing a book, I feel great. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, and it’s a fantastic thing. When I’m done for the day, I feel accomplished and satisfied, and can’t wait to get back to it tomorrow. When I’m on set creating with fellow actors and the director, the feeling is the same. I feel a sense of belonging, and deep inside, I know I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I feel at home and happy, and I more easily tolerate life’s random irritants. I believe there is a lesson in that.
So, when someone asks me if I had to choose, would I be an actor and give up writing, or vice versa, I simply cannot answer. I honestly don’t know, and the question feels like trying to decide if I’d keep my right arm or my left. I may be right-handed, but my left hand is no less useful, and I would miss it all the same.
It takes a certain degree of insanity to pursue a career as an actor or an author. I guess that makes me crazy twice over.