Last week I talked about creative anxiety and how it’s mitigated by shifting our focus to the process instead of the outcome (click here if you missed it). This week, I want to continue that theme of process, and tie another idea to it in the form of a challenge.

Our culture seems enamored with the notion that our happiness is directly related to our milestones, and is unattainable without them.

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But this isn’t the case.

The middle school student isn’t excited that he’s left elementary any more than the college graduate is satisfied with her diploma. We instantly lose the taste of victory, and feel starved for our next achievement.

The creative is not invulnerable to this either.

I would be happier if I could just write full time, or if I could get something published, or if I had an agent, or…

But then I met people who had achieved all of those things and had discarded them like their college diploma. True, none of these things are bad. On the contrary, they are good and necessary to make a living at creative work. However, holding our happiness hostage until we achieve stardom isn’t right either. Something is missing.

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I think we hate walking.

We hate that we cannot teleport across the chasm between where we are, and where we want to be (which holds true whether you’re walking a novel, or walking with Jesus). We do not realize, even if teleportation were possible, doing so would leave us at our destination unchanged. Our character would be void of the beautiful alterations left by the journey, because the road was never taken.

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To quit or never start…

This is what it means to reject the journey. It is to deny your future self an opportunity to be better. Stagnant water breeds mosquitoes, and continuing to swat at success will only bleed you dry until you itch yourself to death.

My step today is to write this post, and add 1500 words to a short story.

I’m promising myself to only think about the story. Not how it’s received, or what the story could do for the site. Only that I’m writing it because I’m excited to meet the version of myself that finished it. That’s my step.

What is your single step towards your creative goals? What are you focusing on?
Let me know in the comments!

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