Quickly: Who said, “Getting there is half the fun?”
If you said Cunard Lines, congratulations. For what, I’m not sure — either for collecting that useless nugget of information or for being seriously old. The pitch is from the early 1950s, before I was even around.
Okay. Is getting there half the fun of creating?
My first shrink seemed to think so. She was into that oo-ee-ooey stuff about presence and mindfulness and the sound of one hand clapping, so in my mind her credibility was shot. But she suggested the idea of enjoying the process.
Who? Wha’? I’m all about results. Did I complete x work? Is it up on Amazon? Is it getting read? Those are the important things. Enjoy the process? What kind of foolery is that?
Except she may have been right.
Seth Godin recently said enjoying the process takes guts. You’re working without the end in sight. This runs counter to the way I’m wired, and maybe it’s the opposite of how many others like to work.
But it’s fun. It’s getting into that high-performance car that might even scare Tony Stewart. You fire it up, feel the vibration of the engine, listen to the roar, take off in a cloud of dust and burnt rubber.
Not because you’re in a hurry, but because it’s fun.
For me, the act of writing is sometimes a drag. I have word counts. I have deadlines. I have standards (believe it or not!). I have mental shutdowns when the words don’t come, distractions that look a whole lot more attractive than my work, a hangnail that’s killing me when I type.
But I also have the opportunity to play what-if with my characters. To build a whole world, even if it’s not as elaborate as those of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis or J.K. Rowling. Shall I use an existing city that I know for my setting or build a whole new one? Who gets to play? What kind of characters do I want? How shall I move the story along — lime pit or mine shaft? How about the good old-fashioned wood chipper?
Now that’s fun.
Practicing scales is not fun. Playing that same piece for the 40th time today is not fun. Diving into a musical hole so you can find your way out — now that’s fun.
But Seth’s right. I’m not even thinking about the end product. Deciding what species of shark to feed the body to — or deciding whether to transpose from C to A minor — doesn’t necessarily take the result into consideration. Shoot, it might not even make it into the final product. It’s just fun.
Maybe getting there all the fun and the actual result is anticlimactic. Reckon?