You’re writing a book. You care about this book. You want to finish the book. But you’re plagued by:
These characters are stupid. This story is stupid. This writing style sucks. This book is no good. I’m a rubbish writer. I’ll never finish this chapter/this part/this book. Writing is exhausting. Writing is taking over my life. Writing is painful. Writing is madness. Why on earth did it ever occur to me to write this ******* book!?
This, in a nutshell, is what it means to be writer. Having written professionally for more than a decade, I’ve come to know well the writing process, and to accept that self-doubt and I-don’t-wanna is part of that process. Early on in writing The Ceruleans I made the poster above and set it as my desktop wallpaper, and every day it reminds me to just trust the process. No matter what I think and feel in my writing career now, I trust that it’s part of the process – and then I carry on regardless.
Since making this poster, ‘trust the process’ has become something of a mantra to me. Laid low with stomach flu? Trust the process. Moving house and feeling adrift in your new place? Trust the process. Knee-deep in kids determined to (adorably) drive you to the brink? Trust the process.
I even used this mantra while in labour with my daughter. In fact, I seem to recall bellowing it at a rather startled midwife at one point…
‘Trust the process’ stems, I think, from one of my favourite quotations. It’s from a book called When I Loved Myself Enough by Kim Mcmillen. (If you haven’t read Kim’s book, please do. It’s one of the gentlest, wisest, most affirming books I’ve ever read.)
When I loved myself enough… I knew I was in the right place at the right time and I could relax.