The Struggle that is the Writing Process
If you're anything like me, you think of pain when you think of the writing process. A never-ending pain. What makes it worse is that the writing process is not the same for everyone, so what works for someone else might not work for you. The purpose of this post is not to give a general idea of what the writing process looks like. You should modify these steps in a way that works best for you. Before we get into the steps, I just wanted to let you know that the writing process is a beautiful thing. I know that I say it sucks (because it does), but it's what allows you to reach that final product you imagined. Onto the steps!
Step 1 - Brainstorm
Brainstorming is a step that I often skip, but would probably make developing my ideas so much easier. Basically, for those who don't know, brainstorming is sitting down and writing down all the ideas that come into your head. Characters, location, plot, genre, an end goal, or literally anything else that comes to mind. Doing this allows you to see what you're working with instead of trying to gather random thoughts. Brainstorming also makes it, so you don't forget an idea. I know that when you begin writing, you might come up with an idea, but it gets lost in the sea of thoughts. It can be very frustrating not being able to remember an idea that you thought was good. After they have all their thoughts down, some people connect the thoughts to each other based on if they are relevant to each other or if they relate. For example, you might draw a line from a character to a place or from a place to an event. Though this method can be too messy and unorganized for some, in general, it's not a bad way to start.
Step 2 - Create an Outline
Here's when you go from the messy, thrown together brainstorm to a more organized listing of ideas. I suggest this being the stage in which you solidify your ideas. Determine your characters, plots, locations, and moments you want to see happen. After that, start by making broad general statements. What I mean by this is say you want to outline the intro, write out the general idea of how you want the introduction to go. Don't be too specific. The outline is specifically for letting your writing take shape from random thoughts to words.
Step 3 - Start Writing
Now it's time to start actually writing. Using your outline as a reference or a guide. Start writing being more specific. This the time to make those scenarios you outlined become a reality. Thanks to your outline, if you change your mind on something, you probably didn't write it yet. Just scratch it out the outline and keep moving. Writing is the fun part. Don't be afraid to stray from the plan, though. Writing is a creative process, and sometimes, as we write, we develop better ideas because you can really see what you've imagined in front of you.
Step 4 - Writer's Block
Yup. You read that right. Writer's block is an official part of the writing process. In all my time of writing, I don't think I've written a single thing without running into writer's block at some point. Sometimes getting stuck is part of the process. It may take forever and a day to move past, but once you do, you feel so much lighter.
Step 5 - Doubt
Another official part of the writing block is doubt. It always happens no matter how much you planned out your writing or how passionate you are about what you're writing. Chances are very high at some point during the writing, you're going to think to yourself, "Is this even good?" For the next few paragraphs, the only thing on your mind is if what your writing is even worth the effort. Now, most of us get over this doubtful phase, but for those of us who don't, it usually leads to situational step 6.
Step 6 - Impulse Delete (situational)
I can't explain what comes over me, why it happens, or how it happens, but more times than I liked to admit, I've looked up and seen a blank screen. It's almost like I blacked out, but in reality, I thought to myself, "This is absolute trash." and removed hours of writing from existence. Then I restart and writing something that's almost identical to what I originally had. If I could just function properly for just one second, maybe this wouldn't have happened. :)
Step 7 - Edit
An obvious step, but sometimes often skipped by plenty of writers. Time to go through and look for mistakes. Usually, errors dealing with grammar, spelling, and formatting. Though, I've noticed that this step can actually take quite a long time to check through your whole writing.
Step 8 - Proofread
Now you read over what you wrote to see if you missed anything in the editing stage and see if the writing is reading the way you want it. Another step I feel like is essential to do because it gives you a chance to really validate your writing and make you feel confident that it turned out how you imagined.
Step 9 - Finalize and Get it Out to the World
Look at you go. You did it! You completed a piece of writing, and you're happy with the result. Time to post it to your blog, on your website, send it to your publisher, or whatever it is you do with your writing. You're very talented, if I must say so myself. Now time to do it all over again.