Six Stages of the Creative Writing Process

This is a guest post by Angela Panayotopulos. 

1. It begins with an idea. 

You heard something. You saw something. You kissed someone. You moved somewhere. You had your heart broken. A loved one died. A friend betrayed you. A bomb went off. You had a baby.
The idea appears in front of you like a ghost or an angel that has suddenly slipped through the veil between worlds and looks you in the eye—and then the veil drops again, and you either keep what you saw or you neglect the memory until it fades. Do you choose to keep it? Probably. Because, duh, COOLEST IDEA EVER. 

2. It continues with a decision. 

You’ve seen what you saw, you’ve felt what you felt, and this is something that anyone could see or anyone could feel. Ideas are as plentiful as stepping stones, and we stumble across them daily; it takes a special stone or a special frame of mind to stoop down and pick up that pebble. So the next question is: what do you do about it? 

3. It ensues in a fight. 

Ideas are wrestlers. Half of the battle is showing up; the other half is putting up a fight. Sometimes the idea will twist and bend you as it desires; other times it will prove more malleable. Sometimes it will beat you up and it will hurt your pride like hell and will you know that, today, you have lost.

4. You become a team. 

You become something greater together. It tickles your mind and quickens your heartbeat. It gives you purpose. It gives you an identity. You’re really on the same side; you’re training each other.
The ring is important. Its floor might be of paper and the fence may be woven of lead, but the important thing is that it exists, held in place by laws of gravity and grammar, stretching to accommodate you and the size of your idea.

5. It demands persistence. 

If you don’t show up for a few days or maybe weeks, you’ll be lucky if it’s a compassionate idea. Sometimes it puts on its gloves and waits for you in the ring, expecting you to arrive. Sometimes it won’t wait; it goes off and seeks another person to play with, someone with more energy and will. Somebody might even show up and steal it away. 

6. It’s worth it and you know it. 

If you find yourself still pulling on your gloves at the end of the day, you’re still in the game. Your resilience emerges from your conviction in what you do: that you’re creating something, something good, something worth fighting for, something that you may never get literally paid for or applauded for or kissed for (though you might). But it’s something that belongs to you as much as you belong to it, and you’re each other’s champion and godsend and child. It gives you joy. 
At the end of the day, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Angela Panayotopulos first tasted the magic of wordsmithing when she penned and illustrated her debut stories “The Horse and His Baby Horse” and “The Wolf and the Monkey” as a five-year-old. These did not become international bestsellers. However, Flint Hill Publishing Center stamped her books and contaminated her with the dangerous notion that she could write. She will be forever grateful. 

At 22, Angela earned her Creative Writing M.F.A. from George Mason University, emerging as a full-time freelancer and part-time novelist. Her passion for storytelling is rivaled only by her love of dancing, adventuring with her beloved partner-in-crime, and savoring steaming cups of coffee (preferably while reading something by Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, or Laini Taylor). Her prior publications include The Art of War: a Novel, inspired by her grandparents’ ordeals during WWII, and The Cardiology of Broken Things, coauthored with the wonderful Dr. Lars J. Østergaard.
You can find Angela on her WebsiteFacebook and Goodreads

Do you agree? Disagree?