ornament cherubs rabbit-souvenirofdayton00dayt_0053I have found there are five distinct phases in the process of writing a book or script. I’ve written, and helped writers write, a lot of different projects in a lot of different genres, formats and media, and while the product has sometimes been quite varied, the creative cycle – the process – is always the same:

1. Gathering – Generating ideas, research, notes and other raw material (often involves some exploratory Drafting)

2. Planning – Plotting and outlining (often neglected until Revising)

3. Drafting – Which may include some Editing and Revising (often starts before Planning)

4. Revising – Repeat Phases 1–3 as needed, now modified to:
a. Gathering – Perspective mostly, through feedback, notes, new ideas and research
b. Planning – Outlining and Re-Outlining
c. Editing – Cutting and pasting prose
d. Drafting – Additional drafting as needed

5. Releasing –The widely dreaded follow-through phase of the project.
a. Into a Drawer (or shelf or garage). If the project isn’t ready, that’s ok. Put it aside and move on – at least for now. Or…
b. Into the World – Start sending your project out to agents, publishers, producers and/or self-publishing.

This is somewhat oversimplified. Phases (and processes) overlap or repeat, but the essential underlying cycle remains essentially true for every writer and every project, and I’ve found that knowing which phase you’re in, helps focus your creative energy and maximize productivity.

Write on!

– Adapted from “How To Be A Writer Who Writes” by Greg Miller