Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to live in, "hopeful confidence"

Did I say NEARLY Daily...? Sigh. I started out with the best of intentions--to blog *nearly* every day--which leads me to this post.

EXPECTATIONS are evil, I think.  

I've come to see them as a set up for disappointment when things don't work out as I want, whether it's a full on failure, or some missing detail that would have made whatever I was trying to do, perfect. As my friend Monte Farber pointed out in Quantum Affirmations (a book I still can't recommend enough--see my previous post on it HERE), "no one is guaranteed anything." 

Indeed. Keeping the no guarantees concept in mind, I thought about some of my previous expectations: 

"I expect you to get an A on that test!" 

"I'll be done with this project on Thursday." (ha!)

"I expected ________________ (insert: "your help" "for you to understand" "your support" "for you to do your share" "more...")

"Damn. I was expecting that editor to be more enthusiastic, maybe make an offer..." 

So many times when I "expected," I experienced a huge let down when whatever it was I was after didn't happen or didn't work out the way I pictured it. And it wasn't because I didn't put in the work, or the time, or the affection, or the nurturing required to achieve it. I had this idea in my head for the longest time, that it was imperative to always think positive--and it is. Putting out good energy for achieving a goal helps in staying focused and enthusiastic and motivated about it. An expectation, however, takes thinking positive to a different level--one where I was trying to exert control where I had (and have) none. Having control is deceptively comfortable (because when do we have total control over anything in our lives, really? But that's another post for another time). Failing when you think you're in control makes the failure feel worse, and not the lesson it should and can be. Part of the journey of becoming a published writer is putting your fate into other people's hands--whether you're working with a publishing house or doing it yourself. Part of the success of your projects (however you define success) is in the hands of someone else: readers, editors, critics, publishers, etc.--and so out of your control. All you really can do is work--do your best, fix mistakes, try again--and hope. And I think that may be true for just about anything.

So I'm trying to live in a state of what I've been calling "Hopeful Confidence". CONFIDENCE--in that whatever it is I'm doing is good and right. HOPEFUL that it'll work out, and in the case of the publishing industry, that others will agree. That is all I can do: Work. Believe. Hope.

I recently reread Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. One of my favorite quotes from that story (besides "I dragged those things across Paris for you for a shing while Beardy gets away with double gavriels?") is "Hope makes its own magic."

Here's hoping.

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