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The disappointment of a prize-winning story

So first, a celebration: My story, “Milk Tea With Pearls” got an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s “Family Matters” contest. 🙂

Second, a confession: My first reaction was disappointment. “Oh, I didn’t win.” 

(It’s a really good story, and I wanted to win first place!!)

(There’s some learning here, of course. :-))

I have big visions. I want big things in my life. 

Sometimes I want so much, the dream gets intimidating, and it’s hard to take a first small step.

Does this happen to you?

You dream of writing a novel that shakes open the way people look at life–AND wins all the big prizes and sells like crazy. Or making the movie that breaks out at Sundance and becomes a multi-million dollar box office hit.

Then when you sit down to work, the WEIGHT of those desires is pressing on you. The tension is too much, so (just for a moment!) you click away to check your email. 

From there, you know the story: You quickly take care of one thing, then another. (You’re a highly competent person who takes action, after all!) You take a moment to check The New York Times. You send an article to someone.

Before you know it, you’ve gone down a hole and your momentum is gone, your creative energy drained.

There’s a connection between this and my story of subtle disappointment.

Often, with the the big dream comes the big creative block.

After all, if nothing but big success is good enough for you, that’s an awful lot of pressure on your creative work. 

That pressure makes it hard to actually do your creative work. (Ask me how I know!)

Photo by Amar Adestiempo (@amardiestempo) on Unsplash

(This doesn’t mean you give up the big vision. No way. I champion ambition. I hold the vision of success for myself and my clients. And those successes are there: agents, exhibits, The New Yorker, Emmy awards, money…) 

However… Between you and the multi-million dollar, Nobel-prize winning career, there are a few steps.

Ease up on the pressure and expectations. 

Do your work. 

Expect some failure. Know it’s part of the process–and a valuable source of information.

Celebrate every small success. 

Let yourself feel the ups and downs. 

Love the adventure like it’s the most exhilarating roller coaster in the world. 

And give yourself and your creative work so much love.

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