Stages of Writing

I have posted before about the difference in how I think writing a book will go, and the truth about how writing a book goes. Today I want to talk a little but about the stages I go through while writing a book. I don’t always follow the same process for writing (I am a sometimes plotter, sometimes pantser), but when writing my rough drafts I do tend to go through the follow five stages.

Stage 1: The Idea
An idea hits me. It is the best idea ever. I can’t believe this idea has never been made into a book before. It is going to be amazing. I can’t WAIT to write it. This part is always fun. I can plan, plot, or move straight into stage two.

Stage 2: The Writing.
I start writing. The first paragraph is torture. I hate writing opening lines. It never stays the same and I know that, but it is hard to commit to even temporary words. Once the opening paragraph is done things start to flow smoothly. I get in the groove. I knock out around 10,000 words and then we hit stage three.

Stage 3: Crippling Self-Doubt
What was I thinking? This idea isn’t new and original. Also my plot is in knots, I don’t know how to write my characters out of this predicament, and I don’t have enough plot for an entire novel. This is the part where I debate giving up, starting over, or jumping to the new stage one idea that just jumped into my head.

Stage 4: Steady as She Goes
I do a of whining in this stage. Writing happens in short spurts of 500-1000 words. Each paragraph is a struggle. It is all horrible words, flat characters, and drawn out scenes. The plot has more holes than swiss cheese, and I feel hopeless. But I keep writing. “A draft to edit is better than no draft at all” becomes my mantra. My writing friends become invaluable to my continued progress.

Stage 5: Lightbulb Moment
At some point things come together. It usually happens with the same speed and intensity that Stage one starts the process. A key piece falls into place and suddenly I am writing like the wind to try and wrap everything up before I lose this glorious moment. This stage is the entire reason I suffer through stages three and four.

Do you always go through the same emotions while writing a rough draft? Do you get stuck in the middle or are endings your weakest link?


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