Discuss: The Stages of Writing


Writing — whether it’s a poem or a longform novel — is an emotional process. During the writing process you might feel frustrated by your inability to get words on the page, jubilant when you achieve success, sadness when the project is over, and relief when you’ve finished your editing for the day. There are so many more emotions in between those and you’re likely to experience them all throughout the course of your writing project. So, my question for you today is, what stage are you in right now?

In a post on the Terrible Minds blog, Chuck Wendig wrote about 25 different emotional responses to writing, titled The Varied Emotional Stages of Writing a Book. The list begins with “Everything is awesome,” wherein your writing is dancing off the page and your idea seems like the best one that you’ve ever had. Four steps later you might find yourself in the “Don’t worry, I’m doing things that feel like writing” stage. At this point, you might find yourself caught up in outlining and plotting. Even though you’re not putting down actual words, you feel like you’re moving forward.

By stage ten, “old man lost in a shopping mall,” you’re wandering around the plot that you’ve constructed and you no longer know which way is up. You don’t know where you are, where you’ve been, or how to proceed. This can be a rough time and we’ve all been there. The next two stages, “I should not be a writer and my soul is forfeit,” and “I wrote four words today,” can be really tough. But work through those, because you might just reach the “I wrote forty thousand words today” stage!

This list is fantastic. I’ve been through all of these stages, and I’m sure that you have too. Currently I think I’m somewhere past this list with my current writing project. I’ve reached the “apex” stage, where you end your story, and I’ve moved into the editing phase. Maybe Chuck Wendig will come out with a list of the emotional stages of editing a book!

For now, though, what emotional stage of writing are you in right now? If you’re working on something, is it stalling or are you speeding ahead? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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