The Five Emotional Stages of a Writing Writer

Hello my lovelies!

The time has come. I am knee-deep in a new story and the words are begging to be written. This is a treasured moment of insanity for writers. The day that a story goes from an idea bouncing around in your Tree House to actual words on paper.

It’s also the day you lose your ever-loving mind.

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled out an Emotional Stages blog, but my mental state is screaming for it.

Starting a story is a big commitment. Sure, there are times that we have a general little idea and we sit down to start writing things out just to see what happens.

Then there are the times we know this book is going to be written. We think about it for days, weeks, months even. We take notes, we outline, we go into this knowing we are planning a complete story.

You get to the point where you are essentially thinking of nothing but this story idea. Even when you are enveloped in real life, your mind is churning full steam ahead in the background bringing this new world to life.

And then the time comes…

Stage 1: EXCITEMENT

“Omg, new story! I love you!!  You will be the bestest book anyone has ever written, EVER!!!” *snergles characters*

It is here when the story is alive and well in your brain, and you are determined to bring it to life. The characters feel real, the plot seems to be solid, you are ready to go. You can’t wait to sit down and make this happen, and you start dreaming of how amazing it will all read once it’s finished. This is the honeymoon period of story-writing.

Stage 2: UM…?

You sit down to write this story that is telling you it’s ready to be told, and maybe you bang out a chapter or two and it’s all coming together perfectly. Then suddenly… Wait. Where did the story go? What’s happening here?

WHERE ARE ALL THE WORDS!?

You wonder if you are competent to even write this story. Or competent to write anything at *all*!

This is the moment where you start to wonder why you can’t just sleep with your head on a keyboard and have the words pour out in your sleep through reverse osmosis.

You are now officially at war with your own brain. There will be bloodshed.

This would be a great time to start stocking up on booze and chocolate.

Stage 3: I’VE GOT IT!!

Oh, oh, oh! This would fix that plot hole that has been taunting me! I’ve totally got this!

Here the words start to come. Not as quickly as you’d like, but they are coming. You feel inspired and realize that you might be able to actually pull this off. The stress melts away and you make actual progress. Several lovely chapters are written during this stage.

Stage 4: I HATE THIS BOOK

I hate this Main Character. I hate her family. I hate her friends. Burn her house to the ground.

This book is an asshole. It was sent into your brain for the sole purpose of fucking with your sanity. Oh, sure, let’s send a story idea that can obviously NOT be told in any human language. Or maybe it would work as a movie, but the idea of it being told merely as written word now seems like a special breed of torture that was designed just to drive you, the writer, bat shit crazy.

Fuck this story and everything it stands for.

Stage 5: AND AWAY WE GO!!

You’ve survived the torture of planning. You’ve managed to work through the problem areas without ripping out your own hair or maiming another human being in the process. Your brain has stopped being a persnickety little bitch and you are working together as a team!

You once again love your book, and now, it loves you back! Here come all the words! Look at that story flow!!  Oh, the beautiful moment where writer and word decide to play nice with each other and a story comes flying out.

You can also abandon ship at any time, deciding that this just isn’t the time for this story, and take a break. Form here, you can jump into a new story, and once again The Stages start over.

And when you come back to this story later? The Stages will be waiting for you.

Let it be noted that these stages can and will repeat as often as they bloody well feel like repeating until your story is finished.

From there, you get to dive into the Five Stages of the Revising Writer.

What can be learned from all these things?

That if you have willingly chosen to be a writer, you are a masochist.

But you will have ridiculously pretty stories when it’s all over, so it’s a square deal.

For the record, I am currently being crushed by feels in Stage 4. I look forward to freeing myself any day now.

I hope you all are surviving your own stages with grace and… Actually, I think achieving any level survival is about as good as any of us are going to get. So let’s root for that!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Words!!

6 Comments

  1. YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN SO RIGHT AS YOU ARE AT THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW.

    **ahem**

    I mean, incredible work in succinctly expressing the process which I totally went through in entirety just today in the space of writing a mere 1,400 words.

    …so glad to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it is a train.

  2. Right now I’m firmly in stage 2. Lips a flappin’. I can see stage 3 looming in the gloomy shade of a spooky old tree, though. YOU CAN’T HIDE FROM ME, STAGE THREE. IMMA FIND YOU. And I think that proves that writers are a little bit nuts, too. 🙂

  3. Heather Raglin |

    I’m in stage 1….lovely stage 1 where everything is wonderful! And I’m determined to write “Chapter 1” today. I know where my MC is and how it’ll all begin. I will. I will. Lalalalalala.
    You may hear from me in a few days when stage 2 firmly sets in.

  4. Noo, not stage four! *Hugs*

    This is really interesting to me. I love seeing other writers’ processes, because none are exactly like mine, although they usually overlap. Because I’ve been writing a series for years (since waaay before I started learning about the industry, so it’s lucky I still think the series is good), these stages have come in different forms with different books, and sometimes have applied to the whole series. Stage 1 has happened to me at different periods of all three books–book one actually had its honeymoon stage during its last half, book two during its middle part and ending, and book three…I don’t even know (probably because I’m in the middle of it. But re-reading portions of the draft so far, I know which ones are honeymoon).

    I’ve never had stage 4 in the sense that you have. I could never hate my characters or their world. What I DO hate from time to time is my inability to translate their words/stories/thoughts/ideas onto the page properly when I’m in a writerly slump, a.k.a. the fact that I am human. So…I have the same feelings, but take it out on myself. Stage 2 is also unfamiliar, but that may be because I have SO MUCH STORY planned out for this series…too much for all of it to even fit. Stage 3? Oh, do I know stage 3. It keeps happening during this book.

    Gah, I rambled a lot. Oh well. I really enjoyed this!

    Also, the gif under “UM…” is freaking me out…

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