My wife, who is a knitting enthusiast, recently made me aware of an article that asked whether people were a process or product knitter. The point being, do people knit to achieve the end product, or for the joy of the process itself.
That got me wondering whether or not the same was true for writers. Do I write because I love the process or because I am keen to have a finished product?
I imagine the answer will be different for every writer, and in many cases it will be a mixture of both. For me, I write because I feel an addiction to the process. Yet at the same time, I am always keen for the process to be finished, particularly the first draft. Although I do enjoy the process, I prefer to write quite quickly, otherwise nagging self-doubt and what I call George McFly syndrome (“what if they think I’m no good? I just can’t take that kind of rejection”) sets in.
After I have written something I am particularly pleased with, I miss the characters and worlds I have created, and am loathe to say goodbye to them. Obviously I do want people to enjoy the finished product, and I am very happy when they do (for instance, the success of Children of the Folded Valley was most gratifying), but once I have finished a story it isn’t long before I begin the next.
The process, as I said earlier, is just too addictive, too compulsive, too much fun for me to stay away from for any length of time. I suppose overall that makes me a process writer, although that isn’t to say I’m not proud of an ever growing product pile.