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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Expectations, Part 2

Out of a lot of work and courage comes...

...beauty.

A previous post discussed expectations that can get into the way of success. Here are expectations that lead to success.

1. Expect to FINISH. No matter what. Anything begun you should expect to finish. This is the first one that most people run up against and don't have the expectation of taking a project to the end. Many people start a lot of projects with enthusiasm but as soon as it gets tough, quit. And start something else. If you don't finish, you'll never know if it truly worked, or not. If you don't finish, you'll never know success.

2. Expect to work hard at your craft, all the time. Any creative person who doesn't expect to work on improving their skills, stagnates at best. Creativity increases with the hard work of getting better at your chosen craft.

3. Expect it to be difficult. Yes, being creative is a lot of fun. But, if you're serious about being any kind of artist--it's also work, lots of work. Work that is totally subjective so there's a lot of rejection. And sometimes you just have to slog through a project to see #1.

If you expect the above, I believe at some point you'll see some success. You may not be on the bestseller lists, or in the Metropolitan Museum, or even making a living from your creative endeavor, but you will succeed.

What are some of your good expectations that work for you?

16 comments:

The Muse said...

Hi Conda!

I've got a house full of teenagers right now. I expect I'll be doing a lot of cleaning later.

Since spring break has begun I'm planning on getting a lot of work done around the house. I expect the teen to help me since I'm letting her have a party today.

Every little milestone I pass I see as success. The expectations you have here are similar to what I follow. Sometimes I never finish a project as I had intended originally. But, the end result is usually better than what I wanted. I tweak things and make changes too often perhaps. I think this can be a good tactic at times.

Wish me luck with the teens!

See you soon!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Muse--ah, teenagers, hope you survive!

And yes, my w.i.p.s usually change a lot from where I believe they'll go, that's part of the point of keep going to the end--otherwise how would I know?

Kathy McIntosh said...

I think I've had to learn to accept your second and third expectations. I truly thought that moving from writing marketing documents to writing fiction would be an easy transition. And it hasn't been. Once I recognized that and became willing to work hard, I find I'm improving.
Another expectation is that I let myself whine, from time to time, about how hard it is.

Conda V. Douglas said...

I can attest to your improvement, Kathy--and you were a good writer to begin with! And I believe all creative people need "whine time" from time to time. It's understandable--we're following our passion, but it is work!

Dave King said...

I am not sure about your first expectation. I can see the point of what you are saying, but, while I agree with all else, that one seems destined to result in a lot of wasted time and effort. I am thinking specifically of poetry, but that said, I would not flog away at something that was not being given. (That does not mean it all has to come easily, but that there must be a kernel that does.)A very useful post, though.

Swubird said...

Conda:

In my opinion, you are so right, Finishing is the most important thing. Low expectations will only return low results. I have also tried to impose that idea onto my children and, I think, with some success. They all seem to be wonderful people who complete what they start.

Happy trails.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Yes, Dave, there are always projects, no matter what the length, that must be abandoned--although I usually cannibalize for other writings, when that happens. But it does seem to me that amongst the creative people I know that not finishing is the main problem. I know lots of creators with myriad projects started and never finished. Stopped once the first burst of enthusiasm reaches the end and never explored far enough to know...

Conda V. Douglas said...

Swu--yeah, in some ways it can be viewed as a sort of personal responsibility to finish what you start. Which of course means be careful what you start too! And if you don't have high expectations of yourself, who will?

Helen Ginger said...

It's good to keep in mind that there are levels of "success." Setting a goal of writing 5 pages and then doing it is a success. Writing the first draft is a success even though there's still a lot of work to be done. We need little goals as well as big ones.
Helen
http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com

Conda V. Douglas said...

True, Helen, and finishing those five pages is finishing after all. Good point--little successes add up...

Caryn Caldwell said...

I LOVE the pictures -- such a good analogy! And your advice is dead-on. If you expect to quit, it's a lot harder to keep going when it gets tough, but if you know that it will be hard but that you'll persevere, well, that can make such a difference.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Talent, in whatever artistic endeavor, is only as good as the practice you apply to honing it.

I've written all my life. I have been involved in writing in my professional life as well. Writing fiction is different. It takes work and skill. A different mindset.

I finally got serious about my writing of novels a couple of years ago. I've finished several Ms. But I was very much a newbie to this arena and I was smart enough to know it and smart enough to absorb and learn all I could from those who knew more. Feedback is invalueable--especially if you apply it.

One goal I set, is to write everyday. Little goals and long range goals, both are needed. The small goals reached encourage you to tackle the longrange goals. The other thing is believe in yourself, improve and perservere.

But you are correct. If you don't keep trying you will never succeed. A favorite saying I love is: "Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor." My goal is to be on the dance floor...

Conda V. Douglas said...

Good point, Caryn--and quitting can also get to be a habit, just like persevering. Glad you like the photos, I have my s.o. Bruce to thank for both (he trims the rosebushes--I don't have the courage--they're my beloved roses!).

Conda V. Douglas said...

Hi Sia, thanks for visiting--and I've popped over to your great blog, what fun.

Yes, yes, I love to dance...

Lynda Lehmann said...

Conda, your photos are a great illustration of contrasts and bring home the idea of creation/creativity on all levels.

I always expect life to be difficult, and to have to work on solutions to issues and problems. In life and in art, we have to be ready and willing to change gears. Be flexible and respond to new situations (and artistic impulses) to find the best avenue to follow.

Some people want guarantees, but they are never forthcoming. Just witness the stock market!

Whatever successes we have are the icing on the cake. The cake is the creative act itself, that nourishes our spirit. Whenever I feel discouraged, I remind myself of that.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Excellent point, Lynda, we need to enjoy our moments, that's the true success in our lives. I mean, how fortunate all creative people are--in my experience we all have so much fun creating!