Any writer can tell you that it is a tedious, emotional, exhausting process to write a story, whether it’s a 5,000 words short story or a 95,000 word novel. For people who love to write there’s nothing better…
but it’s not exactly a straightforward process.
So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When a writer “writes,” they aren’t just writing. They are doing dozens of things from researching to plotting to character design to worldbuilding, and that’s often before they even put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). And once the writing actually does begin, it still isn’t a straight line from start to finish.
To give you an idea of the wild, wild world of writing here are the 12 Stages Every Writer Goes Through When Writing a Story.
And you thought it was just writing…
1.The “Idea” Stage
Ah, yes, the best part. Things look sunny and promising from here.
So idealistic. So naive.
2. The “Oh No This Idea is Much More Complicated Than Originally Anticipated, Can Someone Else Please Just Write It For Me” Stage
Wait, how many characters is too many characters? Is this villain even really the villain or just a side-villain? Do I need to write a 20-page treatise on the political and economic systems of this world? Wait, let me stop and consider the tragic backstory of this side character who only has two lines.
3. The “I’m Doing It, I’m Doing It!” Stage
Writing all the words. The best feeling.
4. The “Everything is Garbage” Stage
NEVERMIND, ALL THE WORDS ARE GARBAGE.
5. The “Buckle Down and Just Write the Thing Dangit” Stage
Okay, okay, this is just supposed to be a first draft. It’s not going to be perfect, just write something. Anything. Anything is good for now.
6. The “I Did It, I Did It!!!” Stage
That’s right! Draft One done suckers!
7. The “Everything is Garbage Part 2” Stage
Oh, but it’s garbage. Right, okay, sure. That’s fine.
8. The “I’m Worthless & Nothing I Write Will Ever Be Good Enough; I Am a Complete & Total Failure” Stage
And the doubt spiral really hits peak here. The story is untenable garbage, and I just wasted my life on it. My failure clearly means I am not only a terrible writer but a terrible human being. This is the dawn of my eternal winter. Victor Hugo was wrong. The sun will not rise. Hope is lost and everything is terrible.
9. The “Rewrite Everything” Stage
Okay, drama queen, it wasn’t that bad. Go back to the beginning and rewrite what we’ve got to get to something better. Wait…wait…this was a mistake. Rewrite everything? Rewrite EVERYTHING? Oh no, what have I done…?
10. The “Everything is Garbage Part 3” Stage
Rewrote everything. It’s still garbage. Where’s the nearest trash can, please?
11. The “Editing Part Deux” Stage
Woah. Okay, really love your commas there don’t ya, buddy? Think you’ve got enough em dashes? And how exactly were you trying to spell “Arctic”?
Note: Repeat stages 9-11 in a loop until your eyes cross or you lose your mind, whichever comes first.
12. The “Sure Whatever I Guess It’s Finished Now” Stage
Look we both know the editing could keep going forever. Gotta stop somewhere, I guess. Might as well be here.
There you have it! What the writing process is really like. And, hey, I didn’t even get into all the tangents and procrastination techniques writers have! (Spoiler alert: there are a lot.)
Bottom line? There’s a reason all the writers in your life are a little wacky and this is it.