Sure, we all have a fantasy about being famous. Writers in particular harbor those dreams of winning a major literary prize or landing on the bestseller list. Such big hopes, however, have little to do with why most of us write. We simply love words and the way they can be put together to tell a story, explain, entertain or spur action.
Chasing the Big Thing is a distraction for nonwriters as well. Gunning for the corner office or the top salary puts energy into office politics, not your best work. The most efficient fishermen may get some great catches with their trawl nets, but they're also depleting the sea and their own future income. And have you noticed that so many of the biggest-selling novelists/artists/moviemakers/musicians are producing works that all look or sound alike?
Bigger is not better. In my favorite Christmas movie, "Holiday Inn," the proprietor of the quirky inn seems to lose the girl to a promise of Hollywood stardom. In a biting concession speech, he wonders why they all couldn't just enjoy a "little layout" where they could do good work without the dreams of fame.
Hmm...just doing your best work, even though it's on a small scale? I think that's called artistic integrity. I think it's also called personal integrity.
Yes, it's nice to be recognized, to enjoy some praise and to win the prize. But let's not make that the goal.
As they say in the theatre, there are no small parts; only small actors.