The Stages All Writers Go Through–Which Stage Are You In?

                What stage are you in as a writer? Whether you are a beginner or seasoned author we all go through the growing pains as we define our writing voice and develop our craft. Some stages are guaranteed to happen while others have somehow been bypassed by some. Realizing which stage you are in and how to overcome it will move your writing forward and let you advance in your career as an author. The articles below are just two examples of the writing stages a writer goes through. The 5 to 7 stages listed are given with examples of how to deal with them and work through them.

                Wondering if you should consider yourself a writer at all? Then the video below will give you some idea if you are or not by highlighting some common characteristics of writers. Which ones do you possess? I hope you enjoy and use what you learn to sell more books😉

The Five Stages of Becoming a Fiction Writer

by Chris Winkle

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I’ve heard many people describe their progression as a writer, and I’ve been surprised not by how different these stories are, but how similar. That doesn’t mean everyone goes through these specific steps or does it in exactly this order, just that these growth experiences are shared by a lot of people. Since some of these stages are tough to get through or somewhat embarrassing to look back on, realizing we’re not alone can be really validating. And while it may not seem like it at the time, I think each stage has something to offer.

  1. Prewriting

You have creative ideas, and you like the idea of putting them together into a great story. Sometimes when you’re feeling especially inspired, you’ll jot down whatever comes to you. Maybe if it’s short, you’ll even get to the end!

But every time you try to work on something that takes more than the space of an afternoon, you run into the same problem: writing is hard work! After the initial glow of that fun idea wears off, finishing doesn’t seem worth futzing with those sentences or troubleshooting the obvious plot holes. You have other things to get to.

Maybe you still think that you’ll be a great writer someday. Or maybe you’re sure you’ll never be a writer; it’s too much effort.

If You’re in This Stage

You’re actually ahead of the curve! Most people don’t come to a site like Mythcreants until they reach stage 3 or 4. That could save you a lot of heartache later. And while I can’t promise that you’ll actually settle down with a nice story someday, many people move to stage 2.

  1. Magnum Opus

You have it: the idea. This is no one-afternoon stand; this story will be the love of your life, your magnum opus. The idea is fresh and exciting, but more than that, it resonates with you on a deeper level. You feel for the characters, and you’re riveted by the fix they’re in.

You start putting words on paper, and soon the idea grows from a short story to a novel and then from a novel to a series. You find yourself investing tons of hours doing the work you never wanted to do before. You do it because you just have to make this story real. And after you do, it will be the next big thing. You’ll show everyone that you were made for this!

In the meantime, you protect your precious idea. It’s incredibly valuable to you, so it must be valuable to others. What if someone steals it? Gotta keep it secret; keep it safe.

If You’re in This Stage

I’m sorry about what comes next. As a consolation prize, may I offer you some articles on the basics of plotting? You’ll be happy you read them later.

  1. Disillusionment

After working long and hard on your beautiful magnum opus, you showed it to someone else. Someone who didn’t think it was the cat’s meow. That someone was maybe a friend, an editor, or even yourself. Regardless, reality has come knocking, and it says your work is crap.

Maybe you hold on to hope a little longer. It isn’t that your work is terrible – that person just didn’t get it. The masses don’t appreciate true art. But eventually, you admit that you aren’t a natural writing savant and that your work is far from a masterpiece. This is a hard thing to realize.

If You’re in This Stage

There’s nothing wrong with you. The disillusionment stage happens because our culture lies to us about what being a fiction writer entails. It’s not some mystical journey that involves following your heart and muse wherever it takes you – it’s a profession that has to be studied like any other. You just haven’t learned it yet.

Sure, there are a few people who lucked out when their first attempt became a smash hit. But it’s probably good you aren’t one of them, or you’d be insufferable thereafter.

  1. Learning

You’re going to learn all there is to learn, and then you’ll fix your magnum opus! You read books, visit websites, and attend workshops. Slowly you become aware of the problems in your stories. Unfortunately, everything feels the same except you now dislike your own writing, and that makes it difficult to continue.

You keep working at it, and eventually you notice that your writing is actually getting better. You even branch out a bit. You write some short stories or test out different perspectives and genres.

But whenever you go back to your magnum opus, you become discouraged. Your new writing is clearly better than it was when you put so many hours into it. The plot of your masterpiece is a tangled mat that you can’t seem to comb out. With dawning horror, you realize it’s time to put the love of your life aside. You say you’re just on a break, but everyone knows what that means.

If You’re in This Stage

The struggles you’re facing are growing pains. Before, you had blissful ignorance, but now you’re actually on your way to achieving a dream. It really does get better.

  1. Rebirth

After kissing a lot of frogs, you’ve gained skill and confidence. You have more to learn – as you always will – but you’re ready to take on more challenging projects. Maybe after writing short stories, you’re ready to go back to novels. Maybe after writing in limited, you’re ready to go back to omniscient.

Writing isn’t like it used to be. It’s not deliriously chasing a dream; it’s sitting down every day in front of the computer. You know it’s not having a great idea that matters, but all the hard work and skill that goes into narrating it. You work to make each story good, but it’s okay if it’s not perfect. While the romance may be gone, now you can accomplish what you only dreamed of before.

If You’re in This Stage

Congrats! Keep writing and learning.

Many writers are lured in by unrealistic expectations. If we knew what we were getting into then, maybe we would have turned right back around and focused on accounting instead. But we didn’t, and I think that initial burst of enthusiasm enables many of us to climb a formidable learning curve. We may not have salvaged all the stories we wanted to, but thanks to those failed stories, we can do better today.

Original Article:



7 Stages of Being a Writer You Must Overcome

By: KM Weiland

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Today, I want to take moment to look back over some of the stages of being a writer that can be the biggest obstacles in the first leg of the artistic journey—and show you how you too can navigate past them on your way up the mountain.

  1. I Am a Writing Genius!

Some of us are wise enough to skip this gem altogether. But most of us (*raises hand*) start out writing with the blithe mindset that this is easy, this is fun, and my stories are really, really good. I believe this is actually an incredibly valuable starting mindset, since it prevents discouragement from setting in until after we are well and truly hooked by the addictive nature of creativity.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

As blissful as this particular bit of ignorance may be, remaining entrenched within it will take the wheels off your writing journey right here and now. You know you’ve taken your first step into the larger world of writing when you come to realize, first of all, that you don’t know anything, and, secondly, you then begin to know what it is you don’t know. You realize there is much to learn about the art and craft of writing a powerful story, and you begin your life’s pursuit of diligently seeking it—sometimes joyously, sometimes painfully, but always doggedly.

  1. I Feel Guilty for Taking Time to Write (and Then I Feel Guilty for Not Taking Time to Write)

I still remember the agony of indecision in those early years when I started taking my writing seriously. I felt guilty for sitting at my desk instead of doing more “productive” work. I felt guilty for wanting to write rather than ride my horses. I felt guilty for telling people they had to leave me alone during writing time. Sometimes I even felt guilty just because it was a beautiful day outside and I was inside.

And then when I gave in to my guilt and didn’t write, oh boy, there was that whole other wave of guilt to deal with.

Last week, I received an email from reader Cassie Gustafson who perfectly summed up this plateau in the writing life:

I find myself feeling guilty because I’m not writing (which is the worst!), or feeling guilty because I am and have to ignore friends/cat/hubby/social engagements owing to a deadline, or feeling guilty because I didn’t start early enough in my day.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

This is where the rubber really meets the road, people. If you’re really going to be a writer—if you’re going to make this whole creative lifestyle thing work—this is where it either happens or it doesn’t.

For me, the turning point was a moment in which I found myself angry that family and friends weren’t taking my writing and my writing time seriously. But then it hit me: why should they take it seriously when I wasn’t? From that moment on, writing became a priority in my life. I set up the same daily writing schedule I’ve followed ever since: two hours a day, five days a week. With few meaningful exceptions, writing is first—come rain, shine, holidays, or illness.

Make this commitment and from that moment on, you are a writer.

  1. Maybe Writing Really Isn’t Worth It and I Should Quit

Hey, just because you’re now a writer doesn’t mean this gig is suddenly easy! Some of us will face this conundrum many times in our writing journeys. For me (so far), it was an unforgettable one-time epoch.

The spring after I finished what would become my second published book Behold the Dawn, I faced down a quandary of the soul: Am I really meant to be a writer? Is it really a worthy lifetime’s pursuit? Is it what I’m meant to do? I stared into the black maw of this question and all its implications and came this close to giving it all up.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

Let’s be honest: maybe you won’t overcome this one. Maybe you’ll decide that no, writing isn’t worth it, and you’ll walk away. And that’s fine. As R.A. Salvatore says:

If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer.

I believe this is an important question for every artist to ask themselves at some point in their journey. Creating is about sticking your fist down deep in your soul, ruthlessly clawing at whatever you can find, and then dragging out to be shared in the shocking light of day. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life doing that, then you really should spend some time contemplating the nature of your commitment.

Take a walk into the dark night of your soul. Whatever you find, you’ll be a different person when you come out, and if you decide to keep right on writing, then what you find will fuel your art for the rest of forever.

  1. I Can’t Read Other Writers Because They’ll Influence My Voice

The struggle for authors to find their own unique “voices” can be an all-out, feathers-flying, banty-hen kind of a fight in the early years. Most of us don’t even know what a “voice” is, much less what our voice is, so we do a lot of flailing around, trying to find it. Sometimes, within that fight, we become fearful that reading other writers will somehow warp or contaminate our own fledgling voices.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

The problem here is that reading other writers is, in fact, the single most valuable way to find our voices, to absorb the rhythms of great storytelling, and to learn by example from the best of the best. John Dufresne says it eloquently in The Lie That Tells a Truth:

Don’t be afraid to be influenced by any writer whom you admire. We should be flattered if anyone notices a similarity between our little story and, say, a passage from Melville. If you aren’t influenced by the masters, then you may only be influenced by yourself.

  1. I Must Religiously Follow All the Rules (Except That’s Too Hard, So, You Know What?, the Rules Are Obviously Formulaic Cockamamie Created by Talentless Hacks, So I’ll Just Ignore Them, Phew!)

Way back when we overcame Roadblock #1 and realized all the stuff we didn’t know, it actually seemed pretty exciting—comforting even—to discover there was a method to the madness of writing. But the “writing rules” can get overwhelming fast. Some of them don’t make sense right away. Some of them don’t work at all until we come to subsequent understandings about other storytelling principles.

As a result, many writers seesaw back and forth between obsessively observing all rules to the absolute letter of their perception—and then getting frustrated, deciding “art” isn’t supposed to governed by “rules” anyway, and chucking them all out the window.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that on Wednesdays I always share a post from the site’s archives. I started with the blog’s very first post and have been slowly working backwards, post by post, through what has become a very large backlist. I’m quite happy to say I no longer agree with everything I wrote back then (which is why a number of posts have been deleted or extensively rewritten).

One of the subjects I’ve decidedly changed my views on with time and experience is the value of “the rules”—which is to say, the foundation of established wisdom gleaned from centuries of humanity’s storytelling. I love the rules! Indeed, this entire site is dedicated to sharing those “rules.” But with time has also come the equanimity of approaching those rules from the larger understanding of where they apply, where they don’t, and where it’s okay to experiment.

In short, this isn’t actually a roadblock you “overcome.” Stick with those rules, keep digging away at your understanding of the bigger picture—and eventually, their importance, their (I might even call it) kindness, and their exciting possibilities will put to rest both the obsessiveness and the frustration.

  1. Other Writers Are Getting All the Breaks—And It Makes Me Sad/Depressed/Jealous/Angry

The art of writing is uniquely suited to make us feel unworthy. Not only are we baring our souls on the page for everyone to gawk at, we are also working in a field in which monetary compensation is decidedly the primary yardstick for “success.”

What this means, of course, is that in the early days when we’re not making any money, getting any publishing deals, selling any books, or otherwise getting anyone to pay any attention to us whatsoever—we will almost inevitably fight the little green-eyed monster as we watch many, many other authors reach the milestones we aspire to.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

The first thing you must do is come to peace with your own priorities and your own explicit definitions of success and failure. Do not judge yourself by someone else’s yardstick. Understand what you want to achieve with your writing and, more importantly, why.

During the publication of my first two novels, I struggled mightily with feeling like a fraud because they were not traditionally published—until I came to peace with what I wanted from my writing career rather than what I felt others might expect from me.

The second thing you must do is this: Keep your head down and keep working. Success only comes to those who make it happen. I look back on my writing journey and I am incredibly aware of the opportunities I was blessed to be given. But I also worked incredibly hard so I’d be in a position to take advantage of those opportunities. Don’t worry about what others are doing. It truly has nothing to do with you or the possibilities for your future.

  1. I’ll Never Be a Good Writer

This is often the most tenacious belief any of us ever has to face. Perhaps it never completely disappears. We could fill a book with beloved quotes from other writers (many of them acknowledged masters of the craft) about their own doubts about their abilities, about their struggles with the simple act of getting words onto the page, about their depression when the stories they produced inevitability failed to measure up to the magic in their heads.

We don’t need any help doubting ourselves—but we get plenty of help anyway. Brutally-honest critique partners and editors leave us sitting dazed and wounded, staring at the litter of Track Changes in our manuscripts. Then the book comes out and the reviews start coming in—some of them positive, but many of them candid, angry, even cruel (and you will remember these comments far more than the positive ones).

It all hurts. And what hurts most of all is the dark belief, down deep in your heart, that it’s all true.

How to Overcome This Roadblock:

Just keep writing. The reason it hurts is that is true, whether to a small or large measure. In the beginning, your writing probably is pretty bad. Certainly what you wrote last year is likely to be worse than what you’re writing this year.

What is absolutely true is that you’ll never be a perfect writer. But you’re getting better. With every word you write, you are getting better. And I can promise you this: as time goes by and you increase in your understanding of the craft as a whole and your own body of work in particular, the sting of harsh critiques and bad reviews will wear off.

I used to get the shakes and a sick feeling in my stomach whenever I found a negative review of one of my books on Amazon. What if it’s TRUE??? Now, I can glance at them, accept the person’s right to his opinion, perhaps even grin in amusement, and forget about it almost instantly. At this point in my writing journey, I am no longer dependent upon the good opinion of others for my validation as an author or a person. It was a long road to get here (and indeed the road continues on), but it was worth every difficult step along the way.

Keep walking, keep writing.

Perhaps you now find yourself high enough on the mountain to look back and smile at the memory of all of these stops along your path. Perhaps you’ve only passed a few them so far. Perhaps you recognize the current battleground where you find yourself struggling, bleeding, and moving forward step by step.

Wherever you are in the stages of being a writer, remember the path leads ever onward and upward. Every part of the adventure offers its own challenges, struggles, and doubts. But every one of these challenges will find an exciting and invaluable resolution. I look forward to seeing you on the mountain peak, so together we can journey on to still greater heights!

Original Article:

Write Fearlessly

About G.Edward Smith

A stranger in a strange land...
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