The Process: More Important Than The Prize

Filed Under (Acceptance, Writing) by Estee on 08-03-2010

In part, this blog was to discuss the process of writing a book and of writing itself. Many people like to think that the end result is easy. Most writers know this is not so. While I’m not a new writer, I’ve not yet written a book.

Much like how we view people and autism — that there is a goal that must be reached — that only one end result is desirable or feasible — we forget the journey and the process as the greatest creation of all. When all is said and done and the product is finished perhaps a few people will read our work, perhaps fewer will remember it (or as Elizabeth Gilbert and J.K. Rowling will attest — sometimes there is “freakish” success). But that does not make the doing, the making, any less significant. An act of creation is no waste of time. It pains me sometimes when I watch a culture so invested in the end result that we continue to churn out less creators and more factory-line producers in business administrators and lawyers (but let us not forget that there are wonderful creators in these professions as well). I have a real issue with “professionals” being churned out of universities, as I find that those without such degrees can be equally, if not more competent, in business. I believe university is an opportunity to receive the Universal Education – not a place to learn a trade. It’s not that I do not appreciate trades and craftsmanship, for I have great respect for it and also believe we undervalue true craftsmanship. I believe learning a craft is equally as important as learning philosophy, literature, art, and the sciences. My real point is, life is more than the products we produce. It is the intricacies, decisions, confusions and the work in between that is often more meaningful and interesting to us in the end. The “wax on, wax off” of the Karate Kid was more important than the rush to learn Karate.  If the process of our lives wasn’t important, we wouldn’t be writing and producing biographies of people and their private lives — we just wouldn’t be that interested in them. We always need and want to know the story behind the creator.

I like to think of writing a book or a blog as a process as important as writing the Book of Life. As I went to a funeral last week, the Rabbi concluded that the “book of [the person’s] life had now ended.” Our lives are complex narratives. We are reluctant to put the book down. When reading, we have been so invested in the journey. If this is not testament to how important a process is, I don’t know what is.

It was listening to a number of authors last week talking about process that I realized we are not a culture that appreciates it very much while it’s underway. We have our eyes on the prize.  One author even stated that there is no such thing as a failure in writing. We must have many of them. In this sense, there is no such thing as a failure.

I’m still writing and doing a lot of research now that the bones of what I want to write seems to be constructed.  The research is so much a part of my journey that I can see how some writers may not want to stop. Yet certain chapters have to be written. Some have to end. There is always something new to write about. There will be an ending to mine soon. But until someone reads the last sentence in my own Book of Life, I’m going to try and continue to relish the process.

I hope it need not be mentioned that this post is a metaphor for all of life, and for our autistic children with whom we place so much stake on performance and end results. It seems a bit of a let-down to have to spell it out.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.