The important thing to know is that no two processes work the same. This is just how I manage to get everything done.
Thanks for asking!
1. It starts with an idea. It’s probably something vague like « how can I make this already well-established story gayer? » or « it’d be interesting to put lesbians in space. » (since I almost exclusively write gay fiction)
2. After the idea comes the outline. Now this doesn’t actually have to be set in stone. Most of the time I scribble mine into the margins of a too full notebook or journal because I’ve run out of paper. And tbh my outlines are always an ongoing thing. I recently re-wrote an outline for a story I’ve been writing that has well over 1000 pages.
I actually used to skip the outlining part, but dude if you wanna write anything you need an outline. It tells you where to go with your story. You aren’t going to write something long like a book in a single night bro so you need to have your outline down to remember all the twists and turns you want in your story.
3. Write the ending. Like the outline, the ending isn’t set in stone, but I prefer to get it out of the way early on so I have a goal to write to.
4. Realize you don’t actually have to write anything in order. If you have a good outline you can just flit around writing fun dynamic scenes and fill in the blanks later.
5. Not everything is going to be dynamic. Get that through your head. Some stuff is gonna be boring and hard to write and it’s gonna drive you crazy, but the good news is that should be minimal. You just need to write it and move on.
6. Get a timer app. I use Wordzy, an app that locks my phone and computer until I’ve hit a word limit I set. Basically run writing sprints until you hit your daily word count (I do 2500 a day split up between 4 sprints with a 20 minute-1hr break between). It isn’t going to be pretty and it doesn’t have to be. Because you’re going to edit that shit.
7. Edit. Edit everything. Just go back through and start deleting shit you don’t like. And by deleting I mean cutting and pasting into a document titled outtakes. You don’t wanna actually delete your writing just in case you wanna go back to it later. Just saying, what doesn’t work in one story or part might work in another.
8. Once you edit most of your shit have google read it out loud to you. I do this and it helps me catch so many stupid errors. Stuff like repeated words or incorrect words that I didn’t catch in my read through. It’s literally a godsend. And it also helps catch if your story is nicely paced or if it’s boring or you’re putting it on a little too strong.
9. Edit again. A lot of the stuff I write I edit a minimum of 10 times. Some chapters I’ve edited 24+ times. Others I’ve edited around 14. Some only 5.
10. Don’t be afraid to cry! Writing is difficult and emotional and probably also evil. It’s okay if you feel shitty and frustrated and annoyed with it. But remember! NEVER STOP WRITING!!! Don’t give up even if it’s hard and you hate everything you write. Because someday you won’t and it’ll be okay!
So yeah. That’s my process, but like with less crying than is usually involved. Haha. Hope this helps all you writers out there.
You literally DO not have to write this way if it isn’t what makes you happy. You can write a book without an outline, but the idea of that terrifies me so much. More power to the lot of you who can handle that kind of pressure.