Passion, Goals, and Process

I write as a hobby.
Spend enough time around authors who do this for a living, or ones who are working on doing this for a living, and this phrase starts to sound like something I wouldn’t want to admit… but it’s actually critical to avoiding burnout.

For those of you looking askance at me and going “You’re on MGC, you’re putting out books yearly, you’ve been writing blurbs and working on learning the publishing industry since KDP existed, go to conferences… as a hobby?” In large part, much of that is to support my husband’s writing career. The rest? Well, I may have problems doing anything, even hobbies, at less than full throttle and aiming for perfection.

I remind myself that it’s a hobby to give myself permission to ease the throttle back to maneuvering speed when encountering turbulence.

Brian Cohen, who does awesome Amazon Ads Courses I highly recommend, also had a note on defining success in self-publishing that I keep as a reminder. It breaks our writing down into three things – no, not beginning, middle, and end, but Goals, Process, and Passion. (I think he called it something else, but this is how I wrote my note to self.)

The Passion – What is your dream, your end state? What do you get out of writing? Why did you get into this in the first place? What gives you energy and joy?

The Goals – What milestones have you developed to get to your end state? Where do you want to be in 1-5 years, writing-wise?

You have to know what you want out of this in order to measure if you’re making progress, and whether it’s in the right direction.

Passion drives Goals.
Goals drive Process.

If my goal was to make $20K/yr, then my process would have to be very different from my current goal to enjoy this hobby, and continue to learn about the business while supporting my husband & writing friends.

Right now, if I get stuck on a chapter for a week, it’s mildly annoying, like getting stuck on at a weight on bench press. Both are problems that require figuring out what’s not working, but neither responds well to stressing and trying to brute-force it. (In fact, weightlifting is very, very honest about either you can do it with good form, or you can’t. Trying to cheat that will injure yourself, so don’t try.)

However, as a hobby, I don’t have to stress about falling behind in a production schedule, and how that’ll impact my bottom line or cascade to push back plans for pre-orders and releases down the road. If my goal was to do this professionally? Not working for a week is a big deal.

Process will always keep changing, as life changes and as your skills, time, and availability change. You still have to have one, though, if you want to get anything done. That said, it’s easy to get focused on process, and lose sight of goals, or let your goals and your pursuit of them with the process go astray from your passion.

What happens if you only have 2 out of 3?

Process + Passion – Goals = Comparisonitis (and Goalpost Shifting)
Goals + Passion – Process = Shiny Object Syndrome
Goals + Process – Passion = Burnout
Goals + Process + Passion = Focus and Progress

…And that’s why I’m mildly frustrated at my own pace on this WIP, but ultimately okay with only getting one book out in 2022.

9 thoughts on “Passion, Goals, and Process

  1. Quote:
    Goals + Passion – Process = Shiny Object Syndrome
    Goals + Process – Passion = Burnout

    Over the last four years I’ve moved from burnout (combination of work and health issues) to shiny object syndrome.

    My goal is to move getting my focus back and then make progress towards finishing my next novel (though I did manage to finish a novel during my burnout period, it needs a re-write to fix a plot point I dropped, and oh look there’s this other novel I need to do…

    Good analysis. Thank you.

  2. ???? I’m supposed to have a process????

    Plenty of passion . . . closest thing to a goal is to get the Muse to shut up long enough for me to figure out this Marketing thin . . . Oh! Shiney! What an interesting Idea! Let me just jot this down . . .

    1. Your process is one of concealed order under apparent chaos, plus quantity/prolificness. An ultra marathon runner has plenty of time to check out side streets and weird paths during training, whereas other runners just have to stick to a short path that gets them back home on time.

  3. As a hobby, your writing is excellent. I have been following MGC for a while. I enjoyed your books as well as Peter’s. I didn’t realize that he was your husband, as I have read his books for a while. MGC led me to yours. Thanks, bill

  4. Firmly in “hobby mode” here at Chez Phantom. Good for the mental health to get the stories out and write them down. Nice for the ego that people are willing to pay money and then cheer for more.

    Goals and process, they need work, I’d say. ~:D

  5. Passion comes and goes. You need to keep the Process going so it has somewhere when it comes back.

    1. Yes. Last year and the first half of this year I was writing because it burned. Right now I’m more in the doldrums. I’ve got what I think are good ideas, but still trying to piece them together into a coherent whole.

      That is coming down to scheduling time to work on it, either directly through words on page, or doing the research to get through the issues that are sticking.

      But I also need to keep writing things down. The duel with the laser feels like it’s gold, but if I can’t find the right shape for the main character to fit in, it will never happen. Still, I need to get it down before I lose it too.

  6. Short term goal – get two projects written and sketch out plot arc for series.
    Long-term goal – build up enough long-tail sales that if I get my hours cut at work, or lose my job, I can pay the bills until I get another job.At the moment, I don’t foresee being able to write full-time, no matter how much I’d love to.

Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: