October 2, 2011

My 20-Step Writing Process

The process of writing can be many things...fun, torturous, humbling, energizing, inspiring, etc. Even though it's easy for doubt to take hold while I'm writing, for the most part, the good things about writing outweigh the bad.

For me, the writing process goes a little something like this...

  1. I outline what I'm going to write.
  2. I start writing things as I think them, not stopping to wonder about whether what I'm spewing onto the page is complete garbage or jewels in my crown (usually it's a combo of the two).
  3. I become tempted to edit as I write. Note: This does not get me very far in terms of word count. 
  4. I try to kill the editor in me...temporarily.
  5. I write a scene. It flows from me. I think it's amazing.
  6. I read that scene over again. 
  7. Frustrated with my complete inability to capture what I wanted to capture, I close my laptop and go eat something sweet to cheer myself up.
  8. Mid-bite, I think of a way to improve the garbage-like scene I just wrote. 
  9. I rush to my laptop, sweets forgotten, and flood the screen with brilliance (ha).
  10. For inspiration, I read someone's else's novel. 
  11. I go back to my sweets, thinking I'll never be able to write as well as those who are published.
  12. I talk through my doubts with my husband. He tells me to just go write and then I can edit it later and make it brilliant then (such a smart guy!). 
  13. I listen... I go back to the laptop and just write and write and write.
  14. I leave the work alone for a few days. 
  15. I come back to it fresh and edit.
  16. And edit.
  17. And edit some more.
  18. I bring it to my writing group and they tell me what needs to change, what they didn't understand, what doesn't make sense.
  19. So I edit again.
  20. And eventually, after lots of care, doubt, frustration, love, and humility, I submit the work for publication. 

I look forward to the day I reach Step 20 on this novel!

But in the meantime, I'm learning and growing and loving every minute of a process that, hopefully, is shaping me and my future.

It's a long, sometimes painful process, but it's worth it to reach the ultimate goal!


  1. Stop editing and just WRITE!! ;) That's what I tell myself.

  2. This sounds a lot like my writing process. I actually really enjoy editing, and I find it hard to just let the ideas flow for a while without going back to fix the sentences.

  3. Ruth, I know...it can just be so hard sometimes!

  4. Shannon, I'm glad to hear I'm not alone! And I agree about editing--I've been a professional editor for the past 5 years, so it's definitely a challenge to focus on writing first, editing second.

  5. I found your blog from the Steve Laube blog.
    You're steps sound very similar to mine...It's good that God honors our efforts!
    I invite you to visit my blog, tcavey.blogspot.com

  6. TC, I'm glad I'm not the only one that follows this process. :)

    I will definitely visit your blog. Thanks for the invite!

  7. You're welcome. I noticed you are on twitter also, I'm new to it but I will check you out!