Too often I see writers focusing too much on how much they’ve completed in a calendar year. How many short stories, how many scripts and how many novels they’ve put together in the previous 12 months. They will look at the output as if it’s the only way of measuring their success. If you’re a professional writer I understand that without creating something you risk going hungry for a night or two, but for the hobbyist or passion writers (see what kind of writer are you) it’s important to maintain a sense of perspective and learn to embrace the writing process.
The writing process is where you spend your time
When you have a finished piece of work, it’s a great feeling. You can share that printed book about, you can give out the script to as many agents or producers as you want. However, in reality the finished product is just the final moment of a long process. Whether it’s powering through the word count, checking for plot holes or meticulously editing the final draft to ensure you’ve used the correct version of “their/there” the process is where you’ll spend most of your time.
embracing the writing process you’ll be able to actually enjoy the time that
you spend on the tasks that until now might have seemed like a chore. If you
see it as a contribution to the finished product, and not an annoyance, you’ll
be having a better time writing, for longer.
The writing process is when the exciting things happen
Writers are creative people. It’s easy to forget that when you’re checking spellings, or trying to hit the word count for that day. How many times, though, have you been working on something that you found utterly boring, only for a last minute flash of inspiration to hit and show you how to fix a problem with the work?
When you’re concentrating on your work, deep in the process, that’s when the exciting things happen in your head. Something happens and your creativity takes over. Problems that seemed insurmountable when you sat down to write suddenly have a really obvious answer. Maybe it was a character motivation, or a particularly tricky piece of dialouge. During the writing process your brain is working these things through, and it’s where the really exciting stuff happens.
The finished project is great – until the next one
you have finished, and that rush of endorphins rewards you for a job well done,
before you know it your brain is going to be thinking about one thing – the
It’s not your fault, it’s the way that creative people work! You’ll probably of had a hundred ideas for stories while you were writing your latest finished product. You maintained discipline and filed them away for later. Those ideas are still there though, tapping against the inside of the drawer or document folder, begging to be let out for another go.
If you don’t enjoy the writing process, you’re not going to want to take those stories through to completion. You’re going to find something else to occupy your time. Like wiring the light fixtures, putting up family photos, or deciding which novelty beach towel you want to take to your local swimming pool this week. So make sure you embrace the it. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the middle of it.