Maybe you already knew that. I didn’t. Or perhaps I should say I never really thought about it until my good friend Annie L. Cechini sat at my plastic folding table in my makeshift office and said those words as we chatted life and writing.

Hope and progress are not the same thing.

hope [hohp]
1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
2. to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
3. to believe, desire, or trust

prog·ress [n. prog-res, -ruhs; v. pruh-gres]
1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
2. to go forward or onward in space or time
3. to grow or develop; advance

Hope is a belief, a desire, a feeling that eventually we will realize our dreams. Progress is the advancement of our goals. Hope is a vision. Progress is the measurement of our plan.

I have hope that within the next five years I will be a published author. I have hope that others will love my stories as I do. I have hope that writing will continue to fulfill me as no other career path has before.

My progress, however, is measured in words (for now) that form chapters that lead me to the end of a novel. One day my progress will be measured by rejections, partials and full requests based on querying. Eventually my progress will be determined by sales figures and reviews.

Hope should be constant. Progress fluctuates.

When we mix the two–when we start to analyze our hopes and dreams based on the measurements of progress or mistake progress as a sign that our hope is valid–we lose. Hope becomes a candle flame, easily extinguished, rather than the burning lighthouse that illuminates our path when the winds of failure and tides of rejection threaten to overwhelm us.

Hope and progress are not the same thing. Wish I’d understood that sooner. 🙂

What do you think? Is the distinction important? How might separating the two ideas be helpful to you?