Product or Process · 2 July 2022

Is the product or the process more important? Especially when it comes to writing.

When I first started blogging, a friend of mine gave me some great advice. “Just ship it.” I have followed that advice since that day. (And of course, I wrote a blog post about it too. Hence the link.)

The main points of the discussion were pretty simple. Set a deadline for yourself. Use the time wisely to get to that deadline. Then, whatever you have at the deadline, just ship it. Simple. And for the most part, it has been simple. I have a deadline for my blog. I write and edit up to that deadline. Then, whatever I have, I just ship it.

Of course, things have changed since that discussion long ago. I have gone from writing one day a week (my deadline day) to writing six days a week. I have gone from writing just a blog to writing books and poems and song lyrics and even textbooks. Which was, of course, the goal all along. The blogging was just a way to get short pieces out to the public. A way to get a body of work. A way to gain a following. It did help me to gain a small following when some of the local papers were carrying my blog, but one of those papers folded (no pun intended) and the other said that I was generating no feedback. So no local coverage since then. Ah well. I do still have a following. A few faithful readers (both real and imaginary).

What I have realized over the years is that there are two important things to writing. The product and the process.

Regardless of how many readers I have (or ever will have), I need to produce product for them to read. Thus my weekly blog. But since my writing end goal has always been to write books, I need to write books as well. Thus my daily writing routine. Product and process. But which is more important?

Of course, you know the answer. They are both important. Just as they are in any endeavor.

You cannot have product without process, but you can have process without product. I once had a process for my writing that produced little to no product. In fact, this process was not conducive to product. I would just write when I was inspired. Wow! You would think that produced great product. Maybe. But it did not produce much product. And who knows whether that process produced anything great. As far as a writing process goes, writing only when inspired is definitely not the way to go.

What I have since discovered is that writing a lot produces lots of product. Some of that product is not for public consumption. Some starts out to be for the public, but never makes it. But some of that writing does make it into the public eye. And some of that might even be considered mediocre. Hopefully, some is better. But that is not really the point.

The point is that you need a good process to produce any product. Quality or otherwise. And the products of a writing process are blog posts and books and poems and song lyrics and maybe even textbooks. At least those are my products.

I was going to do a little bragging about the products of my process, but I think I will save that for later. For now, I will just say that I am glad that I have a process that produces product. Others can judge whether that product is any good or not. I am happy to leave that judgment to the critics. All I know is that when it comes right down to it, you really need a process that ends up with some product. Especially, when you are a writer.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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