“I started out just freewriting, but ended up with a character sketch. Do I count that as Process or Product Time?”
There are times when the lines between Process and Product Time can get hazy.
It may not matter what you call it as long as you’re consistently showing up, but some distinctions between the two habits are significant. There are reasons they’re two different habits and you need to make time for both.
In the long run, consistent Process play prepares you for Product Time and sustains the creative energy you need to keep writing.
To help you ensure you have both Process and Product Time in your writing life, the table below highlights the major differences.
You can learn more details in my summer Loft classes — the 8-week online Discover Your Way Around the Writer’s Block class or the in-person. single-session 15 Magic Minutes: From Writing Wishes to Writing Rewards class. But for on-going encouragement, accountability and opportunities to practice and refine your Process and Product Time habits, the 6-week in-person Writing Habit class may be your best option. (Discover Your Way Around the Writer’s Block also provides ongoing support and accountability and is excellent for writers who’ve taken the Writing Habit, who don’t live in the Twin Cities metro, or who want to break through writer’s block or other forms of resistance.)
What do you do for Process and how do you distinguish between Process and Product Time?
|Purpose||Play for the sake of play.||Work/play for the sake of the outcome.|
|Long range goal||Gain the benefits of play to improve creativity and overall brain function.||Produce a piece of writing (or other art) that will influence others.|
|Expectations||None. If something beautiful or valuable is created, it’s just a nice side effect.||You will eventually write something to share with others (via traditional, self or internet publishing; public reading, etc.) BUT on any given day, you surrender any and all expectations that you’ll do anything “good” that day.|
|Immediate goal||Have fun.||Build the habit of showing up.|
|Evaluate in terms of…||Is it enjoyable? Are you playing / having fun? Are you delightfully surprised at times? Are you willing to go with the flow and change how you play to maximize the fun?||Did you show up? Were you able to focus on the project you want to eventually complete? If not, what interfered with your focus and what can you do to eliminate those obstacles?|
|Resources needed||Toys like Legos or other building sets, balls, magnets, dolls, stuffed animals, action figures, marbles, jump rope, puzzles, kites, games, etc.Art supplies like crayons, markers, coloring books, paper, paint, clay, yarn, fabric, beads, wood, paper mache, wire, etc.
|Pen and paper or computer and printer. Training and skills development in craft elements like dialogue, plot, theme, voice, rhythm, revision, etc. Research skills and access to sources. Imagination. Persistence.|