50 Steps For Writing Fiction

I’m a process nerd. I love studying and understanding the different workflows people use to accomplish their work. Since writing fiction is really hard for me, I figured I’d share some of the steps in my workflow.

I can’t say whether or not this process will work for you, but it certainly doesn’t work for me.

  1. Think about writing something.
  2. Check my email.
  3. Do some client work.
  4. Feel stressed because I really would like to write something.
  5. Argue with myself over I whether have anything worthwhile to write about anyway.
  6. Convince myself that my desire to write is a misplaced desire to do something else, like avoid client work.
  7. Convince myself that my desire to write is the most noble calling and quite possibly my destiny.
  8. Pace around my room.
  9. Sit down at my computer and open a text editor.
  10. Go to the bathroom.
  11. Sit down at my computer and stare at a blank document.
  12. Facebook. Twitter.
  13. Find an article about motivation.
  14. Post it on Facebook and Twitter.
  15. Take my shirt off. “Why is it so hot in here?”
  16. I need a drink. Go to 7-11 and buy an assortment of drinks.
  17. Scold myself for wasting so much time when I could have been writing.
  18. Promise myself that when I get back from 7-11, it’s serious writing time.
  19. Sit down at computer and stare at blank document.
  20. “I can’t do this without music.” Open iTunes.
  21. Feel anxiety about how disorganized my music collection is.
  22. Start finding album art for every album.
  23. “Stop. Stop. Stop. Focus.”
  24. Open text editor. Stare at blank document.
  25. “I need a distraction-free mode.” Tweak text editor settings.
  26. “Realize” that my room is too messy, that’s why I can’t focus.
  27. Clean room.
  28. Sit down at computer and stare at blank document.
  29. Chew fingernails.
  30. Watch an episode of Community.
  31. Admire Dan Harmon and his ability to tell stories.
  32. Open text editor and stare at blank document.
  33. Write a sentence.
  34. “This is the worst sentence I’ve ever read. I think I forgot English.”
  35. Grab Kindle and read paragraphs from various authors I admire.
  36. Take a deep breath. Remind myself that I can, in fact, speak and write English.
  37. Delete the sentence I wrote.
  38. Stare at blank document.
  39. “Hey, at least I’m not coming lightly to the blank page, right Steve?”
  40. Sit back, breathe, and think about the different story ideas I have.
  41. Pace around my room and imagine the amazing scenes and witty dialogue.
  42. Sit down at computer and forget every scene and every line I just imagined.
  43. Go flop on my bed in despair.
  44. Remind myself that even Stephenie Meyer made it big.
  45. Remind myself that fame, celebrity, or prestige is not the goal here.
  46. “But it would be nice.”
  47. Analyze how my expectations, perfectionism, and vanity are preventing me from writing.
  48. Journal about my frustrations with writing. And girls.
  49. Get a text from a friend asking if I want to go get dinner or a drink.
  50. “Yes, I need a break. See you soon.”

Published on March 28, 2013