I don’t think I hide the fact I like a good vulgarity every once in a while. Oh hell, who am I kidding? A slew of expletives can be as fun as baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies with the kids. They pepper my language regularly and I even turn the ordinary into words something profane. Example: New bakery in town is called “Buttercloud,” which I have now turned into a word that can’t be used by anyone without snickering. But all this jovial fun of offending others comes to a screeching halt with the dirtiest word of them all–process.
It looks innocent enough. Defenseless with it’s unsuspecting meaning. “A systematic series of actions directed to some end,” says Dictionary.com which only adds to the normalcy of it. The exact reason it’s the worst thing out there for people like me. People who can’t stand idly by as those “series” slowly trudge by while you have your hands in your pockets. When did systematic mean “taking fucking forever?” Don’t even get me started about the last part with the nose turned up snobbery of “directed to some end.” What am I supposed to do with that? What if I get to this “end” and it’s really just the start of another process?
You may be asking what has brought on this rant (and frankly, why you are still reading about it)? I have written four novels in the last three years. It’s easy to see now that I really vomited a bunch of words the first time and called it a book. The following two improved, but still lacked the needed voice to land an agent. I’ve taken my medicine of rejections because it’s the necessary part of learning. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have understood how I missed huge chunks of the writing process and my books were suffering because of it.
On this fourth book, I decided to go completely opposite of what I had done in the past. Call it the George Costanza shift where I hope to get the exact opposite result if I do everything contrary to what I believe and did the first three times. It started with a written outline. I ditched my panster* status and went to putting a structure on the idea I had. Next was a conference where I learned the first draft is only the beginning. Bob Dugoni, a great speaker, said it was like climbing Everest. The first time you are just happy to get there. The next times are where you carve a clearer path. After many trips and a lot more practice, you can bring someone with you. (That’s you, reader.) The conference also brought the realization in the need of critique partners, which I was lucky to find two I’m very happy with. (Here’s Amy’s view of the process.) But in all this desire to create a better product, process partnered up with patience for a double punch of difficult for me.
Accepting the process is easier said than done for a person who feels the need to fill in every second of the day with something. This may explain my new addiction to Pinterest or diving head first into baked goods. It’s not because I don’t want to write. It’s the opposite, I’m jonesin’ to get back to the WIP. I want to roll around in it, cover myself head to toe with the characters and immerse myself back into that world. I even want to jump in the query process, cross fingers, and hope this is the time. Those are all my gut instincts, and in true Costanza fashion, I have to resist.
It’s going to take all my energy to embrace this new frenemy of mine, process. We’ve had our disagreements in the past where I left shaking my head and wondered what process was thinking. There’s frustration with the time taken when going through the systematic series. I’ll even admit there has been a few cuss words thrown around because of it. And they weren’t the funny kind. But one thing I have come to give process in this writing journey is respect.