The other week, I felt so enormously discouraged that I almost considered making a career switch into prostitution. "At least prostitutes make more money than this," I reasoned. If you're a freelancer, you probably understand this frequent train of thought. Or maybe that's just me...
To be honest, I still feel a bit discouraged. But on some days, it's so strong that I feel completely helpless as to what I should do and powerless to do anything at all. I lack long-term vision. I lack substantial income. I lack the self-confidence to tell everyone on the face of the planet how great I am so they will hire me and/or buy my creations. I lack the work ethic to "build a bridge" and then expect myself to make giant leaps and bounds without one. Sometimes I have unrealistic expectations and wonder what is wrong with me for taking so long to get the ball rolling in my chosen field.
But the moral of this downer can be summed up in this simple quote: "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." I think Martin Luther King, Jr. said it. He's a smart man.
I have to remind myself that what I do today matters way more than what I plan to do five or ten years from now. Today is all there is, and I can either use it to make that first step and celebrate little victories, or I can use it to bemoan where I'm going long-term.
You can only take life one day at a time. You can only take your goals and dreams one step at a time.
And I've noticed that every time I go through a debilitating bout of discouragement, something really good or exciting always happens soon thereafter---something that confirms, yet again, that I am on the right path. It's like the universe slapping me in the face (gently) and saying, "You don't have to sell your body for money and attention. Keep writing."
Every path has its dark alleys and winding roads, but if we keep walking, we will eventually find a water fountain or a pot of gold. Even if it's just a little one to encourage us along.