No one wants to waste their time by not getting what they deserve after knocking themselves out over a creative project. To avoid that, the common approach is to stare into the future.

If we stare, some creatives figure, the haze of time will clear away revealing to us how our projects will fare.

One group sees none of the logistics working out: “I will never get an agent.” “There will be no market.” “Someone else will be beat me to it.” “It will never be picked up by the studios.” “I’ll go broke.”

Another group sees a future that is potentially cold, uncaring place that does not fulfill their  humble requirements: “My first book must be a best seller or I’m not going to write it. ” “I must be considered to be one of the greats in my field or I’m not going to enter that field.” “I must astound people when my project is completed or I won’t even begin.”

Other gazers see an unfriendly and unhappy path to the future:  “It will be too painful.” “I will have give up everything else.”  “I won’t be as good as the other people.” “Too many hassles.” “I won’t improve.”  “My husband will be irritated.” “I will run out of steam because I’m too old/too young, too this, too that.”

Last, there are those future gazers that just are not so sure about what they see: “Should I do this project or this other one? What happens if I make the wrong choice?” Two simple questions, but these gazers repeat these questions so frequently they become totally paralyzed.

Gazers think they can see the future. They also think they can see objective “facts” in the haze. This is what gazers really see: their own fears and their own excuses. To hide the fears and to shore up the reasonableness of excuses, gazers cherry-pick “evidence” to support what they want to find in their visions: a nice clean reason of why the shouldn’t do what they really want to do. Instead of getting an objective assessment, they are getting fully subjective input.

Peering into the future is a crapshoot despite what marketers,  weather forecasters, and think tanks tell us. Many pages can be filled with the stories of creative projects that came out of no where to be far more successful than all the experts were predicting. And there were those sure bets that seemed to be guaranteed success but they flopped.

Don’t look to the future for a go, no go signal on a creative project or on your creative life. The true signal lies in the here and now and it is in you.

Do you believe that you have something to say/do? Do you want to change? Do you want to grow more skillful, more confident? Do you trust that you can figure things out as you go? Do you take pleasure in what you do? Do you want to be happier?

If you have one or more yeses to these questions, don’t stare into the future, come back to now. You have what you need. Get down to your life, down to your project.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Try to See the Future, It Will Drive You Nuts

  1. Thank you so much for this encouragement. I entered a senior writing class through the local community college with a small group of students. Most had been writing much longer than I have. I’m a retired teacher and finally have the time to write.

    The problem was in the critique portion in the third part of the class. After I read my work, other than thank you for reading, I not only did not receive any good comments, I didn’t even receive negative critiques. I felt like my writing was even below notice. I was so discouraged.

    I didn’t complete the class. I truly do want to write, and I do believe I have things worth saying, especially to the youth. I don’t want anything to stall me out. Your encouragement about not looking to all of the doubts and the future outcomes of my work is so timely. Though I would like to publish, I’m just learning how to write in the first place. I’ve written little things “just because” in the past. Now I can really go for it.

    I will keep my eyes on the present moment now. Again, thank you so much.
    Marni T.

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