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On Snail Pace and Other Process Misconceptions


By Christine Carron

Process is the third of the five core Goodjelly Moves. I’m a process improvement consultant by trade, so there was pretty much no way the Moves wouldn’t contain Process in one form or another. That bias aside, I comfortably assert that Process—loosely defined as both the structure of things and the way of doing things—is inescapable on a writing adventure.

Take even the decision of what to write. If you decide to write a haiku versus a novel, you have chosen a different structure. Additionally, you will engage in a different way of doing things to get that chosen piece of writing done. A novel requires a process that enables you to engage with the writing over a  long period of time. Writing a haiku, a much shorter engagement.

For this first Process post, let’s debunk three common misperceptions about writing and then go straight to the process love in The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week.

Three Common Misperceptions about Process

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!
                     - Kobayashi Issa
Misconception #1: Process will slow my writing down.
Truth: A good process slows your writing down when it is useful to slow it down, and speeds things up when fast will serve the writing. For me, I need at least one full week between drafts when I am revising. I'm purposely slowing myself down. But that slowing down makes the actual revising faster, because I have enough distance to see the manuscript with fresh eyes and a clear mind.
Misconception #2: There is only one right way to _________. (Insert any writerly process: plot, build character, get the words down on the page, etc.)
Truth: Uhm, no. Listen to any writer’s panel. However many writers are on the panel will be the number of unique writing processes bandied about in the discussion. Be open to experimenting with new approaches, but don’t beat yourself up (even mildly) if something that works for one writer doesn’t work for you and your current story. 
Misconception #3: Process will stifle my creativity.
Truth: Process, the right process for you, can set your creativity, and your writing, free.

The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week
  1. What do you love about your current writing process(es)?
  2. Which of these do you like doing the most: drafting or revising? What do you like about the one you chose? What is your process for getting it done?
  3. Which of these do you like doing the most: creating a character or creating the plot? What do you like about the one you chose? What is your process for getting it done?
  4. What’s a favorite writing process tip that you learned from another writer? How did that process tip help your own writing?
  5. If you had to give your writing process persona (i.e., the part of you who loves your writing process) a fun name, what would that name be?

Final Note: All these prompt questions are process positive. If you happen to have an Inner Critic, it might try to sneak in and let you know that what you really should be doing is ignoring the questions and writing down what is wrong with Process in general, or with your writing process(es) specifically. If that happens, gently thank your IC for its efforts to look after you and refocus on the questions. You have got this!

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