What does it mean to be a writer? Each writer is different, just as each human is unique. You don’t even have to write a book, there are blogs, newspapers, pamphlets, comics, and essays (To name a few.)
There are many styles and genres in writing as well. There are several stages of writing any project. I prefer Fiction so here are the stages of writing a fiction based novel.
- All Great Things Start With an Idea
Actually, all great stories start with a blank page. This is when Ideas fly through your head; character ideas, dialogue prompts. Whole chapters at the tips of your fingers! At this stage, you feel like you can do anything! Bring on this book and the sore hands. You can use writing prompts if you can’t think of a way to begin your story. Here is a writing prompt that I would use:
“Be a veterinarian for dragons, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.”
Quick Tip: Pinterest is a Gold mine of ideas.
- Procrastination, I Mean Planning
The procrastination stage! Often confused for writer’s block, it is the unrealistic fear of touching pen to paper. This stage can last for up to two days or two months. To get over this I suggest caffeine, or ice cream either one works.
- Actually Writing the First Rough Draft
This is when you discover that the world can’t end in two paragraphs. There has to be in-between life happening. I personally do tons of research to make the story as accurate as possible. While doing research I discover that not all my ideas will work. I can use this time to improve my ideas and make them better and easier to work with. You can also add in sweet dialogue prompts, like this one:
“Dang it, Why aren’t you obeying the laws of physics!?!”
- Editing; The First Step, Re-Reading
Sometimes reading your rough draft aloud will allow you to catch easy grammar errors. Reading it aloud allows you to process what you wrote, and get a good idea on what you are writing. This is the easiest of the editing stages. You aren’t being nit-picky yet, trying to make sense of what you are writing. You can write notes to yourself so you don’t forget anything. All in all, this isn’t too hard, Yet.
- Writing the 2nd Draft
You know all those bigger grammar mistakes that are easy to catch, well it’s time to rewrite those! Rearranging all your sentences to get them to make sense to someone who is new to your project. In your second draft, you are working out all those late procrastination jitters that are still left.
- Editing; Nit-pick the Grammar
Here is where it starts to get tough, you start to get nit-picky. Grammar is important, especially when writing anything that someone else will read. I like to use websites like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor. They judge your grammar and how hard it is to understand what you wrote.
- Writing the Second to Final Draft
Once all the grammar is sorted out, it’s time to write up your second to the final draft. This is another Rough draft, but fancier than the first two. Getting ready for the final draft and keeping in mind that you are only halfway through.
- Editing, The Phantom Stage
At this point, you are tired of rereading and rewriting your work. Just get this over with you think! The Phantom stage is all the editing types put together.
Side Effects that occur during The Phantom Stage;
Extreme caviling, tiredness, dishevelment and an acute sense of wanting to be done. I implore you to not give up hope during this stage. Yes, it can be tough, but do you want to give up on those ideas that started this whole project.
- Writing, the Smooth Draft
This is a moment for recovery from the Phantom stage. Where you clean your writing up so that it can be read, get rid of notes that you left for yourself. Maybe even clean yourself off, you might have forgotten to do this during the Phantom Stage.
- Outside Editor, Opinion
Admit it, your project has become your baby, pouring everything you have into it. So it’s okay to be nervous when showing your project to someone else. You are going to make mistakes that you won’t catch, so be ready to get some criticism. No one is insulting your precious baby, so don’t get worked up. Listening to the criticism helps you improve your writing.
- Final Draft
Fix up your project, hopefully, you listened to the helpful critic. Dress your project up with fonts and italics. It’s time to graduate, the hardest parts are over. Don’t start celebrating yet though, there are still two stages left.
- Send off to Publisher
It’s time to send your project off to a publisher, don’t be nervous. This is almost like the outside opinion stage, but that this outsider is a professional. And that professional is potentially going to make your final draft a real project. No need to fret though, this outsider does this for a living so they will treat your project like their own.
After what seems like years of waiting you receive the letter from the publisher. With your project’s fate written on a piece of paper, don’t faint as you open the letter! Sometimes you need to edit more, sometimes your idea is rejected. Hopefully, your idea is accepted. Now you head off to get it Published and on the shelves in your favorite bookstores or online. Congratulations, for making it this far in writing!
Disclaimer; I am by no means discouraging anyone from being a writer. In fact, I would encourage you to write.