When I started to write, the most important part of the process was to develop characters and plot, and, since I was signed up in NaNoWriMo, to get 50,000 words down in pursuit of a novel, and to do it in 30 days. I did succeed, and found more words were needed to complete the job.
Then, the most important thing was to review the work, and ensure the subplots all connected, and the time lines all made sense. At the same time there was proofreading and editing.
After all that, the most important thing was publishing. With a perceived need to get my product on the market in a timely fashion, I elected to go the Indie route. During the publishing process, the story needed more editing.
Now published, marketing is the most important part. What will define the success of this effort? With a background in finance, the underlying urge is to realize some kind of return on my investment.
Even without a monetary return, there has certainly been a great deal of education derived. There would seem to be a need to use this education for something worthwhile. The most obvious application would be to write some more.