Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Knowing Your Process

This is a slightly different post today. I wanted to think about processes: how you get to where you want to be, and what you have to do to get there. It can apply for writing, but it can apply for so many other things too, such as sports, school work, personal skills etc.

No matter what you decide to start in life, whether it be a new hobby or a new job, there always seems to be that one person who just gets it. Who, for some strange reason, is naturally absolutely amazing at what they are doing. It’s hard not to feel envious of this person and watch them have it so easy whilst you struggle to find your bearings. 

But, for me, I think knowing how I work – with any new thing I attempt to start – is a big help. I’m definitely not one of those people who is naturally good at anything. My process involves me doing things over and over again, and when everybody else around you seems to be succeeding whilst you make little (if any) progress, it can get incredibly frustrating. I’ve been doing archery since September, and watching everybody go up in scores whilst I’ve remained stuck has been somewhat awful. It’s only recently I’ve really started to see progress, and even then consistency is a long way off. 

However as frustrated as I may get, I know that this is just how I work. This is my process. In order to get anywhere, I will have to do it over and over again. I think it’s this which has made me quite a dedicated and motivated person in some respects. It makes me who I am. 

I’m not sure I will ever have a natural flair for something. If I do, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it whilst it lasts.  But at the end of the day, it’s doing things over and over again which will make me successful. So, I’ll let myself feel envious, but only for a moment. Then I’ll simply get back to what I’m doing, and try again. 

What’s your process? 


  1. "I’ve been doing archery since September"

    Well, if nothing else, that instantly nets you some Radical Points. Uh...whatever those are.

    Truth be told, I hate doing things over and over again -- which is odd considering the inevitability of editing and rewriting files and chapters and such repeatedly (a sting I'm already well aware of). So in a sense, my process is to brainstorm and plan ahead far, far, far in advance -- we're talking years before I even think about starting a single project.

    You would think that it would make me a literary tour de force, but it seems like every time I start a new file, I stare at a blank screen going "durrrrrrrrrr" for an hour before typing anything. And then there's the issue of the stuff in my head not translating to the page or otherwise getting edited/mutated into something completely different. So yeah, not exactly a perfect process.

    But I like to think of myself as a locomotive. Once I get started (no matter how long it takes me), I can build up a proper pace...and woe to anything in my way hoping that I'll stop before crashing and burning.

    That aside, it's good to hear that you've found something that works for you (and eerily fitting that your process goes so well with the context of archery). I guess it's something that all of us need to take to heart: keep on trying. Practice makes perfect. Don't shoot your teacher in the pancreas. And so on.

    1. Wow, that's really interesting! I do tend to outline, but it's generally very basic and I end up making up a lot of it along the way, or even diverting from the outline in the spur of the moment. I don't think any process can be perfect (or if there is a perfect process why doesn't anybody know about it!?).

      It's really great that you can keep going. One of my biggest issues by far is getting stuck in ruts. I end up neglecting my project for stupid, non-existent reasons and it takes me an absolute age to get back into them.

      Thank you! Yes, keep going is almost always the best solution, I just wish it wasn't so hard sometimes to find the motivation to do so! I will try not to, seeing as I quite like this sport and I don't want to have to quit it out of shame/guilt/embarrassment!

  2. I think I'm much the same as you. I have to do it over and over again until I get the hang of it. If I happen to see someone who's particularly good at it, I might ask them for advise. I ask a butt-load of questions in order to try and get whatever I'm doing right. Basically, I just have to get into that "don't you DARE give up" mindset. And stay there until I start kicking butt at whatever I'm doing.

    1. I'm really stubborn, so sometimes I find it hard to ask for help. But if I really am stuck, I will ask for advice and see if it can help me progress. When I'm not being so stubborn, I'm a big question asker too. You can never have too much information! I totally agree, once I'm dedicated generally I will see it through to the end. Hopefully I start kicking butt soon!

  3. I agree. I have to do things repeatedly, and even then I tend to change up what I do. But definitely having a way to do it, or an idea of how to do it before I do it really helps.

    1. I think watching people, or seeing examples, is a big help. I definitely agree that having an idea of what you're trying to do should look like - an end product, if you will - is generally quite helpful. Unfortunately, an end product can't always be found with something as original and unique as writing!