Process and intention

Suppose you have two writers of equal ability.

Both these writers want to improve their writing, but follow different approaches. The first one commits to writing an article every week of the year. The second one commits to write often, but to write only when they feel like it. At the end of the year, who do you think will be the better writer?

We all know that to get better and to master a craft, we need consistent and deliberate practice. But intention is an unreliable fuel for our practice. This is because intention is fickle. I might feel inspired today and tomorrow. But it is unlikely that I feel inspired day after day.

Intention works like the numbers in the Fibbonacci series. With every passing burst, it grows in magnitude, but it is also further apart. If intention were to guide our craft, our practice sessions would grow to be spaced further apart, and our mastery would fail to keep pace with our intention. This gap causes us to fret, be frustrated and eventually give up.

A process is a different. Like a flywheel, it stores momentum. Once I publish 19 weekly articles, it is almost impossible to not publish the 20th one. Once it is primed, the momentum of a practice sustains our work through difficult times. It more rescembles a series of evenly spaced numbers, which appear with ruthless consistency and compound over time.

Elizabeth King was spot on when she stated ‘Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions’.

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