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>No matter where we are in our writing, it’s always in a phase. I’ve decided there are 12 different phases to a writers life.  You could be on more than one phase at a time – and if you are, let me suggest chocolate. Lots of chocolate to get you through πŸ™‚  Oh – and I just noticed Nathan Bransford blogged about this too … wow – great minds do think alike (hahaha) but he only gives 9 Circles of Writing Hell … check it out πŸ™‚

1. “OMG, I’m BRILLIANT” Phase! – an idea hits you, you love it, no one else could possibly have written about this idea, OMG it’s so perfect! You rush to the computer (or grab a notepad) and jot down all your ideas. This works for plotters and pansters alike. You are excited.

2. “First line angst” Phase. Now that you have your thoughts or ideas you work on that first line. And rework it. You love it, hate it, realize it won’t receive rave reviews in MSFV secret agent so you highlight it and decide to come back to it – AFTER spending countless hours/days on the darn thing.

3. “Dating” Phase. As you write, you get to know your characters. You discover flaws about them (or yourself) that you don’t like and you need to decide if this character is the right one for you. Their voice, their angst, their issues – does it all fit? You create ‘mini dances’ for your characters – its a scene you might keep or take out, but it gives you an understanding of how your character’s mind works.

4. “Midway Exhaustion” Phase.  You find yourself staring blankly at the screen while wishing for inspiration. Your fingers refuse to type the correct letters, your delete (backspace) button has worn grooves in place. Your family start to worry about you when they see you sit in silence, hands poised over the keyboard, yet you stare our the window for hours on end. You drink pots of coffee, cases of Dr. Pepper or anything else that is a stimulate. You become desperate – desperate for a word, a phrase, an idea … anything just so you can see the word count of your novel creep upwards.

5. “Distracted” Phase. You know you should be writing. You’ve promised your family you would write, your fans or even that muse in your head … but you find yourself on Facebook playing Farmville or Frontierville, refreshing your Twitter acct to see if anyone else is as distracted as you are. You pour over blogs, do some online shopping and ever plug in the odd word into google to see what picture comes up. You jump at the chance to get out of the house, invite friends out for coffee .. anything to not have to sit in that dang chair again and stare at a blank screen.

6. “Inspired” Phase. You see blurbs about writing contests and realize you need to get your novel finished. Then you realize that even if it is finished, you still need to edit and edit and edit some more. But the more you think about it, the more inspired you become, until suddenly your fingers start to dance along the keyboard at rate you once could only dream of. You love your characters and can’t wait to see how they will handle a new situation you place them in. You either know how your story will end or you can’t wait to see how it all comes together, but you no longer accept invites for coffee, your family start to eat frozen dinners and your house is a pigsty because all you can do, all you want to do is write.

7. “Chocolate” Phase. (Okay, if you are me, you are always in this phase …)  You did it. You wrote “The End”. You story is fabulous. You’re happy with what you accomplished and you can take that needed break to clean your house and cook  your family a decent meal – but first you indulge. Whether it’s in a new chair, some chocolate, shoes … doesn’t matter.  You did what thousands of others struggle to do on a daily basis. You finished your novel. Way to go!!!

8. “Make New Friends” Phase. You need friends. Especially writer friends. Friends who understand your passion and share it with you. Friends who have written more than you and have a better eye than you. Friends who will take your novel and read it – and point out all the disgusting errors you know you should have caught but didn’t. You begin the friend dance – emails, tweets, blog posts … to see if you like each other, trust each other … good luck πŸ™‚

9.  “Am I Stupid or What?” Phase. OMG. You get the edits back from those friends you found and you can’t believe how blind and stupid you are. You wrote WHAT???  You know better. OMG, you are so embarrassed. You want to hide, to slink away and never write another word because of all those stupid HAD’s in your novel. 78942 had’s. Are you kidding me?  As you go through each edit, you make a promise to yourself to edit more thoroughly NEXT time, and apologize profusely to your editing friends for making them work extra hard.

10. “Query” Phase. Yep. Let’s all groan, shall we!  You spend countless hours over your query. As for help. Rewrite it. Again and again and again. You win query critiques and find yourself rewriting AGAIN … and then when you are ready … you send it out. To hundreds of agents you find on querytracker and agentquery and through blogs and twitter. Only to realize that with all the rejections you receive, you should have only queried 10 agents at a time …. opps.

11. “Waiting” Phase. I hate this part. You’re waiting on queries or partials or fulls. It takes so long. Too long sometimes. Yet all you do is wait. You would do anything just for an email back. So you check your email countless times a day, stalk those agents until you know their every detail and wonder why it’s taking so long ….

12. “Starting Over” Phase. This is when you realize that while you’re waiting, you might as well keep writing … so you start Phase 1 again …..

What phase are you on?  I’m back on #3 while being stuck on #11 at the same time. It’s not fun. But I’m baking while I’m there, so there is a lot of chocolate in my house right now πŸ™‚

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