I have a friend who loves fishing. Even after years of pulling fish out of the water – long after most of us would have gotten bored with the sport – he still gets excited about every fish. He loves getting out on the water every day, whether the fishing is good or bad. He loves the fishing, not just the results.
Essential to developing your craft is falling in love with the work itself. The key is to enjoy the process, not just the rewards.
While preparing for a Toastmasters speech this week I realized that I actually loved the process of public speaking. Any speaker aspires to book big gigs, speak to huge crowds etc, but that’s all bonus. The accolades come and go (so I’m told). The most important thing is to enjoy the process.
Similarly, Anne Lamott recommends that writers fall in love with the process of writing:
Sometime later you’ll find yourself at work on, maybe really into, another book, and once again you figure out that the real payoff is the writing itself, that a day when you have gotten your work done is a good day, that total dedication is the point.
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Whatever your craft, fall in love with the process. Success may come and go (if it comes at all), but the work itself is the real reward.