Every writer needs a system for getting in the writing frame of mind, drafting a book, or working on revisions once the first draft is done. But what does that look like? How does a writer find a writing process that works for them?
First, understand that writing is a process. Every piece of writing goes through these stages:
What isn’t quite as easy to know is what works for you at each stage of this process. But you need to discover what works and then customize your process to your strengths and schedule.
Step one is to brainstorm the idea for your book. For some writers, that means writing a thorough outline. Other writers need to deep dive into their characters which helps them sketch out the story’s plot.
Other writers jump in and start writing. They write out chapters of back story that will never make it into the final product but writing these things is their form of planning.
Next comes the drafting phase. I’m a fast drafter. I sit down and type as fast as I can until reaching the end. Other people plan each chapter and take a week making it perfect before moving to the next one.
Once you have a draft, you need a plan for revising it. A novel needs so many steps to be perfected, I’m not going to list in this post. I’ve written other blogs about it here.
When your process stalls, it can be easy to give up.
“I get stuck in the middle of the story.”
“I don’t know where to start.”
“My ending is too weak.”
These are thoughts your inner critic supplies when you don’t have a clear path from start to end.
If you want to finish a book, you need to find a process to get you from brilliant idea to publishable manuscript.
You’ll make more progress if you refine your process, and sometimes the only way to do that is through trial and error.
Do you have a clear, repeatable process for writing a book? Find out if that’s your biggest struggle by taking this quiz.
What questions do you have about finding a writing process? This is a big topic and I will gladly write a follow-up post to answer your questions. Or make a video on my YouTube channel to address them.