My daughter is a pre-school teacher, and yes they do teach. She once told me that children of that age are more interested in and enjoy the process more than the outcome, solution, results. Take your pick. As a writer, I gave that a lot of thought, and it finally occurred to me that we serious writers are the same.
We don’t consider income, success, acceptance of other writers. We enjoy the process. We toil and labor and love what we do, first, last and always. Anyone who goes into writing with the dream of getting rich, becoming famous, mingling with best selling authors, is on the wrong track. In most cases those people never produce anything worthwhile. Oh, I can hear the shouts now. Sorry. I’ve been in this business nearly thirty years, and I’ve yet to meet someone with those dreams who got anywhere in the field.
After three long, difficult novels, written over a few years, I still hadn’t thought anything
about money or fame … or publication. I was writing because I loved it. It loved me. The voices wouldn’t shut up long enough for me to sleep. Since those first few years, I’ve conquered that. Older we get, more sleep we need.
Joining a couple of writer’s groups, one that was actually a critique group, started me to think about publication. But only vaguely. I wrote short stories, produced a weekly historical column for a newspaper plus writing features for another. My first published work was on the front page of a weekly newspaper, complete with my photograph of the subject matter. That felt good, sure, but it was the writing I enjoyed. Couldn’t believe I was being paid for something I liked doing so well.
But in all those years writing fiction was my first love and my most incredible enjoyment. Getting lost in the story with my characters brought me more joy than any other type of writing.
Process, process, process. Of course, once that first book was accepted and published I was ecstatic. I’d be lying to say different.
But when a published writer once told me that she never would waste her time writing a book
until it was contracted, my mouth dropped open and I was speechless. I wrote to write, and I still do. Oh, it’s great, if some publisher out there wants what I’ve written, and more and more over the years, that’s been the case, but it’s the process not the results that keep me going as a writer. And it probably always will.
What’s most important to you? The process or the results?
Funny… You can have the process without the results but you can’t have the results without the process. So which do you suppose is more important? Great post Velda.
That’s an interesting question, Staci. Thanks for commenting
I agree about the process being the motivator, Velda. If I don’t write for a day or two, I feel like I will burst! I must write to make room for more thoughts and ideas. Thanks for your blog post. I met you at the Women Writing the West conference.
Thanks for the comment. Wasn’t that a great conference?
With me I think they both carry different weights but are both important. I’m a results oriented person. I can’t stand to work on assembly line kinds of jobs because it never seems to end and i never feel that I’ve made progress. Even if I never sought publishing, though, I’d still write. But when all I did was keep journals I still reviewed them from time to time to see if I’d made progress in my personal life and goals, or if I was still in the same place I’d been ten years prior. So I still wanted to see results even then. I think the two work together as an endless feedback loop for me. I’m motivated to write by some unexplained demon, the completion of a writing project makes me feel good, and feeds the demon to make me want to write more. I write for me, but I also write to be read, even if and sometimes only by myself.
Wonderful post. If I wanted to get rich, I’d have given up years ago. Some of my friends fuss at me because I often write for free. Well, I’ve been paid and I’ve written for free. Not much difference. More stress when you write for pay. 🙂 I love writing and I love my life–wouldn’t trade with anyone! At least, not today. 🙂
BTW, I knew some Brothertons in Lake Charles, LA. Related?