“I expect.”

It’s an ugly phrase. A phrase implying something deserved, which speaks to the overt and disgusting sense of entitlement running throughout our society. A phrase that implies not only something deserved, but something deserved without earning. No one deserves anything. No one deserves success or failure. Love or loss. Happiness or pain. No one deserves anything. We get what we get by making our lives what we want. We’re responsible for our actions. Simple.

As a creative, you have to eliminate expectation from your life. The expectation that people will love your work. Hate it. Pay you for it. Buy it. Give you the money to make your film. Retweet your thousandth tweet about your crowdfunding campaign. That people will understand it – or you. That a great collaborator will come along and save your project. That the stars will rain down upon your singular vision of an epic bromance of intergalactic proportions.

You have to create because you love to create. That’s it. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. No celebration with banners and strippers. No one jumps out of a cake and no one feeds it to you from their breasts (OK, I may have devolved into fantasy a bit for that one). You have to get up, sit your ass down, and write something. Make something. Do something.

You say you don’t have the time, but that you expect to be a great writer? Fuck you. If it’s important, you’ll make time. You hate writing but love being published? Fuck you. There are countless other more talented people than you who will put the blood, sweat, and tears into their craft because they find the process of writing the true reward.

You will suck. You will fail. You will write contrived, clichéd dialogue that makes your skin crawl. You will write “suddenly” too many times and random women with guns. You will produce more typos than an Octomom with a typewriter. You will rip paper up. You will find that right turn of phrase. That right description. That right bit of dialogue. That one key that makes the lockbox of your story open up.  You will do more than 90% of the “writers” in the social media sphere: You will write. You will create.

And if you want any sort of true success, on your terms, you must engage in every single scintilla of the creative process – good & bad, beautiful and ugly – without a scrap of expectation.