Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Five Stages of Writing a Book

1. The Idea

One of the most magical times for the writer, the idea phase can include daydreaming, staring off into space, goofy smiles, and ecstatic babbling to friends and family. The writer is hopeful, confident, and convinced that this idea is THE. BEST. IDEA. EVER.

No, seriously.

2. Writing

 Now the rubber meets the road, and it usually isn't pretty. There are sleepless nights, screams of frustration, and occasionally entire ice cream cakes consumed. Some writers grimly park themselves in front of the keyboard and type until they have met their word count goals, while other writers employ brilliant strategies of procrastination, like cleaning the garage or mopping the floor or working on other writing projects. Somehow, painfully, the book is written.

3. Editing

Although complete, the book is inevitably a disgusting mess of run-on sentences splattered with adverbs and dripping with excessive similes. The writer must now take a knife to the precious manuscript, ruthlessly killing his or her darlings with the stoicism of a Roman soldier. More ice cream cake is consumed.

4. Self Doubt

This stage may actually appear during many of the other stages. In this stage, the writer may lie on the floor and moan, curl in a fetal position, or obsessively search for alternative jobs. Self doubt can be particularly acute during the editing stage.

5. Bookmoon

The bookmoon stage can occur before or after editing, when the writer feels that the manuscript is complete and perfect and unlike any other manuscript ever born from a writer's sweat, tears, and over-consumption of ice cream cake. Like a honeymoon, the bookmoon is a time when the world is viewed through a glow of happiness and the illusion of perfection.The bookmoon phase often lasts until querying begins.

When it melts like cotton candy in the sun.

At this point the writer may feel somewhat disillusioned. She realizes the story is not the most special story ever written. It may not even be brilliant. Just good. Maybe even just good enough. She comes to terms with this, and moves on. She feels mature, grounded, and worldly-wise.

And then, the writer gets ANOTHER idea ...

And it's the BEST. IDEA. EVER.


  1. And so the cycle continues! Of course if we weren't convinced it was the best idea ever we wouldn't have enough motivation to ever get anything written.

  2. WeatheredPebble: It's true ... so true.

    Christie: Thanks :-D

  3. I'm somehow covering all 5 steps! I suddenly feel proudly overwhelmed with ambition ;) Great post! Thanks!

  4. Rory: Thanks, glad you liked it! Since I usually have a ton of works going at the same time in various stages of completion, I'm often in all 5 too. *sigh*

  5. yeah. i'm paralyzed in step four right now. grr... better roll up my sleeves... and grab some cookies.

  6. Sooo true.... And in whatever order. Love your stick pictures, seriously they're always cute. :)

  7. Nice post, so true. Particularly the doubt one. Will tweet to our followers.

  8. I have nothing to say but LOL! Oh man, so true.

  9. Yes! Absolutely... All of it. :)

  10. BET: Thanks! I get a chuckle out of them myself.

    Adam: Thanks for the retweet! It's greatly appreciated :-)

    NM: :-D

  11. Courtney: It's good to know there are others out there like us, huh? Sometimes I feel a tiny bit crazy when I go through this cycle again and again.

  12. This is amazing, I felt myself nodding along at each stage
    RB :)


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