Posted by: Jodi | September 18, 2013

Slow Down, Enjoy the Journey

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The Spotted Tufted Moth Caterpillar

“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a species we tend to rush things, we want what we want now, if not sooner.  When we travel we take the fastest route possible to reduce time spent getting there and increase time at our destination.  Even at our destination, we often rush from one activity to the next.  It’s no wonder vacations are so tiring!

It’s not much better in day-to-day life.  We often rush through morning routines in order to rush to work or get kids off to school or just to get done so we can move on to the next task.

Many take the same approach when it comes to their writing.  They push and push to get through the different phases, thinking, “When I finish this part I will be happy.”  The problem is, with this attitude, they are setting themselves up to never enjoy the process at all.  There is always the next step in the process, especially with longer works.  Often these writer’s get to the end and have a finished work and are still saying things like, “When I get an agent, then I will be happy.”  Then they will find an agent and it will move on to, “When the book gets published, then I will be happy.”  When it’s published it changes to, “When I sell 100 copies, then I will be happy.”

You get the idea.

Slow down. Enjoy the Journey.

Writing, like everything else, is a journey.  It starts when we embrace an idea, and continues on through brainstorming, outlining, freewriting, drafting, revising, editing, beta reading, and clear on through publication.  The fact is, it’s a long process.  Some parts of the process are much easier to enjoy than others.  I love the editing/revising stage because that is when the story goes from being average to amazing.  Many authors hate this stage because it is hard.

The truth is there are challenges and rewards that come with each phase of the writing process.  As writers it’s important to find joy in each phase, while we are in that phase.  Happy writers are more productive writers, and as a result, more successful writers.  And that’s our goal – to find success and to get our work read!

As Always – Happy Writing!

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Responses

  1. Awesome, words of wisdom. When I write, I don’t normally post it right away. I let it sit, read it, think about it, make some changes and when the spirit speaks (meaning happy with it) that is the time to push the button. It has nothing to do how many people like it or how many have commented, for as long as I enjoyed writing it, that’s my bottom line. Thank you for the post.

    • So true, I post to a schedule but sometimes it takes some doing to find a topic that I’m eager to write about. As long as we’re happy it doesn’t matter what else happens.

  2. I have the exact opposite problem. I enjoy the process of writing so much that I never want to finish anything. With this book I’ve been working on I love the characters so much that I keep editing and messing around with things, becuase the idea of starting over with new characters/storyline is hard to get my heart around.

    • Hooray for enjoying the process! That in itself is a great achievement. One day your characters will let you know it’s time to release them in the world.

  3. I do enjoy the process, but when I first started out I rushed. In the past year I’ve learned to kick back and let things progress on no particular timetable… and I enjoying the journey much better. I keep thinking “Well, this chapter can’t get any better.” Then I let it sit and revisit and suddenly there are new ways to write a sentence, more words that can be deleted, and the voice gets stronger. Thanks for the reminder!

    • I do the same thing! I love it when I’ve combed through a project and think it’s as good as it can get and then come back later to find more clarity and ways to make it even better. Makes it hard to ever say anything is finished.

  4. It’s interesting that you say happy writers are productive writers. Ever since I went back to school I’ve not been really happy, and so I’ve not been writing, which makes me even more unhappy.

    But you’re right about enjoying the process. A few months ago the terrible realization came to me that my chances of getting published are no better than getting hit by an asteroid while flying in a hijacked airliner at the precise moment of winning the lottery (and considering I don’t play the lottery or fly hardly ever–that’s a pretty tall order!). I wanted to quit writing altogether–after all, there really wasn’t a use in it, right? It’s never going to see the light of day, so why bother finishing it?

    That’s when my mom pretty much said exactly what you wrote, that it’s the process and the enjoyment level that matters the most. So I’ll just keep writing…someday…school can’t go on forever, right? -_-

    • Sometimes it’s hard to prioritize, especially when both things are important. Write when you have time but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t. Every little bit will bring you closer to your goal. Keep up the good work!

  5. Jodi,
    I borrowed your Emerson quote. It was so fitting for the TTOTC poem.
    A fellow writer,

    • Yay, I’m glad to have something that you could use!

      • I’m so glad you don’t mind! Thanks.
        ( I really should slow down the blogging now and get back to my ‘true’ writing.)


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