I like to consider myself storyteller with how often I write during my free time. About a year ago, I found myself complaining to a friend over a text message about how frustrating and sad writing can be, slowlyyy working my way to the end result of a completed story and final draft. This friend is an artist, completing major paintings and drawing projects during undergrad and she told me the most encouraging words in response to my whining. She said to try to enjoy the process of art as much as completing it to get the final product.
This came back to me and I’ve been mulling over her words for a number of weeks, as I’ve jumped into a new writing project. I can picture the final product, so vividly, even to the point of posting it to Facebook and predicting how many “likes” I will receive. Though I picture this final product and completed work of art, that doesn’t mean I am anywhere near close to being done. I’ve started and stopped writing so many stories on this artistic journey the past two years, giving into insecurities that “it’s not good enough” and judging myself by asking, “who am I to write and think that people will enjoy it?”
But as my dear friend and fellow artist, told me “enjoy the process” of art as much as the final product. I’ve been unpacking her words and processing the idea for other things in my life; applying the concept to business meetings, hours spent at the gym, while working toward fitness goals, and most recently, a cross-country trip I am taking to visit friends from years past and to see the country I live in. It is not about the final destination, finished website design, or finally losing that last 3lbs. It’s not just about completing the art. It’s about looking around as I drive and taking in the scenery and enjoying days with friends I haven’t seen for years. It’s about the business meetings and connecting with my supervisors, even if we don’t come to the same conclusions to reach our goals afterward. It’s about not giving up and doing yoga or taking a walk when I just don’t want to exercise that day. Its about frustrations with mental blocks while writing, then sitting back over a cup of coffee and looking around myself for a minute before hunching back over my computer to continue working. It’s about the process. Not just the product at the end.
So I encourage you to learn to see every frustrating thing during the process of your goals, as stepping-stones and learning experiences that add to your journey. The frustrations don’t take away from you, they add to you, enhancing your beautiful end results to get more creative, to dig deeper, and to listen harder. Don’t waste the opportunity of learning and enjoying the moment as you look to the final product. All the moments in between make that last step worth it.
What other ideas do you have about “enjoying the process”?