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Trusting my process

I’m in pre-writing mode. It takes 4-6 weeks. I know this. And yet I still get frustrated when the process doesn’t go faster. I get frustrated when I think my outline sucks and the story premise blows and that I never should have started this story in the first place.

And then I take a break, read a book, work out, walk the dog, take a nap, anything to get my mind off the story and my suckfest of an outline. And then I decide to just write some scenes.

Maybe they’ll end up as backstory. Maybe they’ll never even be part of the story or the character at all. And once I decide that’s okay, the ideas start flowing and the scenes magically write themselves. Okay, not really, but the ideas do start flowing, and scenes appear with less effort.

At this point, I may not have adjusted the outline to my satisfaction, but every scene I write will inform the final storyline. That’s the whole point of my pre-writing phase, but sometimes I forget this. I want the rough—but essentially final—outline to be done so I can start cranking out the words.

But, I have to just trust my process, because when I don’t, I end up with a dead carcass of a half-finished story that’s going nowhere. Even though a month-and-a-half sounds like a lot of time to “waste” just to get started, it saves me months of agony and rewriting down the road.

So for now, I just breathe, and fume, and doodle, and write.

And trust that someday I’ll have another story.

Tell your friends!


  1. Alison Stone


    Nice to hear other writers can’t just jump in and write the manuscript. “Trust the process” — good advice.

    • Reply

      Yeah, we’re definitely not alone. 😉 I tried to be a total pantser, and it didn’t work that well for me, but the transition is hard sometimes.

      Thanks for dropping in!

  2. Curtis


    Trust seems to be the glue that holds lots of stuff together. Thanks for applying it to our writing.

    • Reply

      I agree, Curtis. In fact, now that I think about it, there’s a lot of trust required to be a writer. We have to trust ourselves, our process, our critique partners, contest judges, agents, editors, oh my… 😉

      And always glad I could entice you to comment!

  3. Reply

    Maybe the carcass of a story is part of the process too — sifting through the bad to get to the good? One of the things I like about NaNoWriMo is the premise that if we write enough, we may throw out 99% of it but the act of *doing* it allows us to access someplace inside that otherwise wouldn’t be available. You have lots of great insights here which I think would make a wonderful book in and of itself (for writers). 🙂

    • Reply

      Thanks, spleeness. Definitely the carcass is part of it. That’s why I call it pre-writing. It’s all of those scenes that may or may not make it into the book, but in the process, I learn about my characters and my story and continually hone the outline (even after I start the serious writing phase).

      I totally agree about NaNo. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing on so many levels. 🙂

  4. KM Fawcett


    That month and a half is so not a waste. You need all that pre-writing to get to know the characters and the story.

    I just have to say that I’m so happy you said your scenes don’t really magically write themselves. If they did, I’d have to cyber-strangle you…or buy you a drink and learn your secret. 😉

    • Reply

      It’s true, Kathy, but I have to keep reminding myself that I need this time.

      And my scenes definitely don’t write themselves, but if they ever start, you can buy me a mojito at Nationals and I’ll spill all. 😉

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