1. Wallowing. The writer has just re-read a first draft or received an in-depth critique. An overwhelming amount of work is required to turn this pile of words into coherence, let alone greatness. The mistake I often make during this stage is forgetting that the operative word in self-pity is self. No one cares how bad I think my manuscript is.
2. Mud Wrestling. Ideas are slippery and hard to pin down. It’s easy to regress into wallowing. This is a time to experiment with new concepts and techniques. Anything that doesn’t work can go back into the murk. With determination, the writer can progress to …
3. Running the Marathon. Points to remember:
- You can’t see the finish from the starting line.
- This is the land of The Tortoise and the Hare. It’s okay to change roles occasionally. It’s okay to take naps. Eventually the race must be finished.
- There will be dead-ends and detours.
- You may need to plot a new course.
4. Rinse and Repeat. The marathon may need to be run again. And again. No one said this was easy.
5. Spit and Polish. The novel has now has structure, real characters, six-pack abs and a killer ending. Where did all those needless words come from? Doesn’t that sentence need a coma? Find a place to read out loud.