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The Seven Stages of Writing

1. Inspiration. You have a great idea for a book. You love it. You know everyone else will love it, too. You can’t wait to start writing. You begin to make notes. On your brown lunch bag. On napkins. On little sticky notes.

2. Frenzy. You start writing. Every spare moment, you’re at the computer. The words are flowing so freely, you can’t type fast enough. You write anywhere, any time you can. On your brown lunch bag. On napkins. On little sticky notes.

3. Doubt. The plot isn’t turning out exactly the way you thought it would. (Where is that sticky note with the great plot twist…?) The characters are, perhaps, not quite right. Maybe the pacing is too slow? Perhaps the ending is a bit predictable? Perhaps… maybe…

4. Anger. Oh, crap. This plot problem is insurmountable. You can’t figure out how to end the chapter you are working on. You’re over your word count. Your characters just aren’t behaving. Your sticky notes are wadded into a giant sticky note ball. Banging your head on the desk doesn’t help.

5. Exhaustion. You feel this damn book will never be finished. You type grimly with fingers made of lead. Each word is drawn slowly and painfully from your beleaguered brain. You know you will never have another creative idea as long as you live. The sticky note ball is in the trash.

6. Acceptance. It’s done. You sigh with the relief of a mother who has just given birth. You even retrieve the sticky note ball from the trash and untangle the pages. After all, you never know. You drift off peacefully to sleep. And dream…

7. Déjà vu. See stage one.

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