As a former teacher and a visiting author, I have spoken to thousands of students about the writing process. In fact, I’m sure I could rhyme off the conventional stages in my sleep.
But as I rework my latest manuscript, several lesser-known stages of writing have loomed more largely…
The “holy crap, I will never make sense of all these arrows and scribbles and stickies” stage.
The “will anyone other than my mom, my dad, and my dog ever think this story is relevant” stage.
The “budge over, puppy; I need that dog bed more than you do” stage. *cue author in fetal position*
The “maybe I’m getting a cold–or the flu–or the bubonic plague which explains why my brain is totally shot” stage.
The “there isn’t enough chocolate in the house–maybe not in all of Edmonton–to get me through these revisions” stage.
The “I’m hopeless because real writers do ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ on their computers but I need tape, glue sticks and scissors” stage.
The “my friends are sympathetic but they sometimes don’t fully understand me” stage.
The “my heart breaks at the thought of finding another job, so I might as well limp back to ye olde writing desk” stage…
…because nobody will thank me if I don’t, right? And if I do–
–maybe. Just maybe, I’ll churn out a word or two that might make a difference to someone. To someone other than me, my parents, and my dog. Which, come to think of it, isn’t a bad start after all.