This Month’s Writing Tip: Enjoying the “Process”

I recently saw an interview with the cast of a Quentin Tarantino movie with the actors saying they celebrated regularly throughout the whole filmmaking process, and not just at the end. Apparently Tarantino subscribes to the belief that if you are involved in a creative pursuit, you should enjoy all of the process not just the “red carpet” bit at the end.

This resonated with me because as an author the “process” can be exhausting at times. Writing a book can take a long time. Editing a book can take a long time. And publishing a book can take…you guessed it, a long time. So, if you don’t enjoy the whole (or most of the) process, what’s the point?

I’ve found that there’s always some aspect or several aspects of writing that an author doesn’t enjoy. For some this may be marketing themselves. For others it might be asking for feedback. For me, I find structural edits a hard slog – some days it feels like you’ll never get the damn book finished, right?

While I think it should be expected that you won’t like everything about the job of writing, there are definitely some things you can do to make the hard parts, less hard.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Break big tasks into smaller achievable chunks.
  • Do the stuff you like the least, first up in the day – get it out of the way so you can move on to the things you do like.
  • Remind yourself that there will be an end to whatever stage or task you’re working on.
  • Focus on your end goal and how that will feel.
  • Talk to other writers who understand the “process” and can commiserate, cheer you on and even offer helpful advice.
  • Ask for help – if it’s something you don’t know how to do, then ask someone who does know.
  • Outsource to a professional – if it’s something that make sense to outsource, and you can afford to do so, delegate the task to a professional.
  • Have other projects on the go. If, for example, you don’t like the editing process and you know it will go for a while, have a side project where you’re working on something you do like. Perhaps, have a short story on the go, or start planning a new novel. Just be careful, though, not to fall victim to “shiny new object” syndrome.
  • Work to a favourite playlist. I have a bunch of playlists that I go to when I need extra motivation. I’ve found for instance it’s very difficult to hate what I’m doing if Salt ‘N’ Pepa is playing in the background – but maybe that’s just me : )
  • And most importantly, celebrate every step of the way! Share with your (writing) friends and family when you have completed a stage or task. Choose something meaningful to you to mark your achievement, whether it’s taking a long bath, reading a book – or treating yourself in some other way.

Writing, in my opinion, is the best job in the world, so why waste your time hating on the “process”?

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