{Etsy wooden steps by A Rustic Garden}
{Etsy wooden steps by A Rustic Garden}

There are developmental stages for ages. Stages for grief and loss. And even stages of sleep, pregnancy and labor. So I thought why not writing? Here are the 5 stages most writers go through from idea to publication.

Stage 1: Eureka!

Stage 1 is probably my favorite part. It’s when ideas form from nothingness. They’re conceived when showering, walking, and time spent zoning off into space. It’s an exciting part of the process when I can’t wait to get to my laptop or a notepad to jot down the crazy thoughts bouncing around in my head. It might be days or weeks until you get to stage 2. I had an idea for this blog post several days before I pondered it long enough to put it into a post.

Stage 2: Outpouring {For Your Eyes Only}

Stage 2 is a time when only you and your computer should be savvy to your work. Don’t try to edit it. Don’t read it aloud to a friend, your partner, to any one. Give yourself the freedom to write without your thinking cap on, without your editor, without limitation. This part is pretty fun. When you can quiet the censor, you’re completely free to explore.

Stage 3: A Little Here, a Little There

Stage 3 is when you invite the editor for a cup of tea. Just long enough to make sure what you wrote the day before on your stage 2 high, makes any sense. Let her weave in and out, cut here and there, delete a few misspelled words. Then leave it and return when you’re ready to do some heavy duty revising.

Stage 4: Down and Dirty

This is where the hard work comes in. It’s not usually my favorite part because it involves left-brain critical thinking. Send your right brain creative side on vacation and get critical. Be harsh, demanding and discriminating. If you don’t, your editor will. Read it objectively. Would you continue reading after the first paragraph? Would your eyes glaze over after that page? Does that word feel uncomfortable like a too tight shirt? Take it out. Read. Reread. Now is the time to share it with those you trust. Get your markers out!

Stage 5: You Can See the Light

You’ve spent days, maybe even weeks on stage 4. You’ll know you’re reading for stage 5 when you’ve read it without wincing. There are a few choice words that can be shifted, removed and replaced. Do it now! Put on a fresh pair of eyes after you’ve set this one aside at least for a day. Read each sentence as a separate entity and then each paragraph, then page. Does everything flow? Yes? Then you might be ready to send it out.

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