To be truthful, I stole the title of this post from John Taylor, bass player of Duran Duran. In his case, the title referenced the process of living a happy life, both clean and sober. For me, the words jump to mind as I trip over rejections, uncertainty, frustration, apathy, and any number of obstacle illusions that appear in the path of this journey of becoming a successfully published author.
Dr. Joyce Brothers said “Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away, just below the conscious level.” For those who claim “Pantser” title (of writing by the seat of their pants, instead of outlining or putting much thought into direction), I imagine the trusting of hunches is quite a simple task. I, unfortunately, cannot claim “pantser-ship.” I am firmly bound by rules and like the structure of a simple outline. I don’t know how much of an anomaly I am, but I have come to embrace the fact that I am what I am. For me, structure provides stable soil in which my creative impulses grow to fruition. That being said, I have had to learn to allow my hunches to fully expand. I have to remind myself to trust the process of writing, of exploring and delving into the fertile ground of my subconscious outside of the outlined fences I erect around my work in progress. It makes me uneasy at times. I want assurances that I am writing the best story, that I’m doing it right. It’s hard to step back and trust in intuition, but it gets easier with practice, and there is no more joyful surprise than when the muse speaks, pulling from my subconscious the absolutely most perfect ending, or story twist, or character so that I am shocked I didn’t think of it before.
I also have to remind myself to trust the process of becoming a writer. When I compare my journey to that of other writer’s, I sometimes become frustrated. I am acutely aware of the clock ticking and the years passing. I have met most of my self-imposed goal posts, but still become afraid that the cost may end up outweighing the benefit. Placing my trust in an unknown outcome is an extremely hard thing to do. Trusting the process of becoming a writer means my journey is the best journey for me. I do not need to compare myself with other writer’s, instead I can be happy for their successes. I can take my time learning what I need to learn, because the next lesson will arrive when I am ready for it. The process of becoming then becomes the goal. And, as long as you continue to write and learn, you can’t fail at becoming.