Process over Product? 

I’ve been mulling this over for a while. Goals and deadlines have always motivated me to get things over the line. Yet the more I read about fostering good habits, recovering as an artist, the song writing process, bullet journaling, and listening Dr Rangan’s podcast, the more I am inclined to focus on the process, not the end product. Oh, and my wife is an Occupational Therapist in mental health and is big on this kind of stuff, which may have something to do with it! 

So what does this mean? Most of us will only get something done if we really have to. Boss needs that report by Thursday etc. But what of the ‘if we really want to’ stuff? What do I really want to do? What do you really want to do? If I had no gigs booked would I practice the set list? If the last year is anything to go by, the evidence suggests not. Maybe I don’t love the songs enough. Perhaps I would rather explore new songs, tunings, techniques, writing songs. 

Focusing on the process enables us to think about what we simply enjoy, and not get hung up on the end result. What does working through that grade eight piece really mean to you? If you love the process of pushing yourself, improving your technique and learning new stuff – great! Immerse yourself in the challenge and enjoy! You don’t even have to take the exam and you’ll be satisfied all the way through. If it is a chore to get that grade 8 on your CV to satisfy your parents’ demands or to tell all your friends, that end product satisfaction will be short-lived and perhaps even a little hollow. 

Fully immerse yourself in a process and you enjoy the moment and come back to it again and again. We could all do with a bit of this, life is too short not to enjoy it. 

This week’s process for me has been learning a new instrumental for my wedding ceremony set. I’m now conscious to pick songs I think I will really enjoy playing. I was hoping to have this one ready to upload this week but it has proved a little difficult to get enough practice in! I am also re-engaging with my song writing journal, playing with metaphor ideas and reviewing old object writing exercises gathering dust. This creative process really gets me going and I feel like I’m somewhere else with no cares in the world. 

So, this week I have a process versus product dilemma. Earlier this year I committed to posting a new song every week. For the most part I have enjoyed the challenge, and haven’t missed a week. This week a mix of reduced practice time and enjoying song writing instead means I don’t really have anything ready to share. Unless I rush something through. But what is the point in that? So this week I’m going to be satisfied with what I’ve learned and enjoyed playing, and forgo the end product of an mp3 upload. 

When it is ready, I’ll share with you. And I’ll have enjoyed every minute of getting it ready for you.