“What you get by reaching your destination isn’t nearly as important as what you become by reaching your destination.” Anonymous
“Don’t consider losses a waste of time. Consider them an apprenticeship.” Greg Norman, professional golfer
I don’t know about you, but I’ve accumulated my share of writing projects that I’ve put lots of time and energy into, but have yet to see the light of day. Right now, they are patiently resting in drawers or waiting on my computer for me to push them to publication. Most writers I know are in the same boat.
It’s easy to write off these unfinished projects as “losses” — as half-finished enterprises that didn’t pan out. But it’s far more useful and encouraging to see them in the spirit of “becoming” and “apprenticing.” When we reframe them in this way, the time and effort put in hasn’t been wasted — all the work invested has been valuable and productive because it’s propelled us forward.
“Apprenticing” leads to mastery — Every skilled trade requires training. There’s a reason why we writers are sometimes called “wordsmiths” and “playwrights.” Mistakes, losses, and failures are all part of our learning curve. We have to put in the time and to endure the stumbles and even misguided detours to find our writing path.
“Becoming” is more important than arriving — We hear this all the time and there’s a reason why: It embodies a valuable truth. Setting and meeting goals brings a sense of achievement. But, as my good friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert says,* there is nothing more deeply satisfying and energizing than grappling with something you really care about. It’s in this struggle, in this state of “becoming,” that we learn the most about who we are, what we have to offer the world, and what matters most to us.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to pull out one of my unfinished projects and revisit it. The whole process was exciting and energizing. And it showed me something very important: how far I had come. The new version I came up with was enriched by what I had learned while it was sitting in a drawer waiting for me. Whatever happens, I know I’ve made progress in pursuing my craft — and the same is true for you. Write on!
* Check out Rob’s wonderful Success Hotline at 973.743.4690.