creative process in seven stages

I’ve been doing some writing over the past couple days. It’s been a really long time since I’ve attempted to complete a creative piece, and it’s been funny for me to recognize all of the stages of the writing process that I have always experienced. These became clear when I was taking a creative writing class and I was doing this on a regular basis.

Stage One: as I sit down at the computer to compile my thoughts into a draft – “I am so productive and creative. I am so proud of myself, this is going to be the best thing I’ve ever written.”

Stage Two: as I get to about the middle of page 2 – “…..must keep writing…. Oo ! something shiny! NO! must keep writing…… I’m hungry…… keep writing”

Stage Three: as I get toward the end – “this sucks, why do I even bother? No one reading this will ever understand what I’m trying to say. EVER!”

Stage Four: when I finish – “okay, that sucked. I’ll just bury it and never look at it again, and then I won’t be embarrassed.”

Stage Five: proof reading – “yep, I was right, it sucks.”

Stage Six: after tweaking it a little bit – “Well, there are parts I like. I just hope somebody else reading will understand…. But if I share it with someone they will probably hate it, and therefore me…. So maybe I should just keep editing it”

Stage Seven: after sharing it and getting feedback – “That was amazing, I’m so proud of myself, that’s the best thing I’ve ever written! I should write more, like all the time! I’m going to go write, right now!”

Return to stage one.

As you can see the majority of this process is spent thinking that my work sucks, to some level or another. But for some reason I keep doing it. Sadly, with this piece I’m working on right now I seem to be stuck in stage six. When I did this for class I would be forced to share it because that was part of class. So now, I need to work up the courage to ask someone to read it for me. We’ll see how that goes.

6 Responses to “creative process in seven stages”

  1. Hol Yomama says:

    Well, never fret. My personal favorite writing method ends at “step four,” except instead of burring it, I try to hand it in immediately. I feel that maybe I might have been less occupied by that shiny object than I thought and hope that I am more brilliant than I give myself credit for, my therapist informs me that I need to do that last one more often. So why not? However, recent evaluations indicate that my professors are on to my not-so-clever thinking here. I’m glad one of us is interested in perusing “the craft”… Although I must admit, I’ve edited this little blurb here more than any other paper I’ve written. I guess the shorter things get my attention because I just get board and frustrated with the the longer and therefore more tedious editing.

  2. kelly! says:

    you know what they say…FIRST IS THE WORST 2ND IS THE BEST….”

    i’m not sure who THEY is/are…but i’m sure they used phrases like “nah nah nah nah nahhhh!” (and not the paul mccarthey kind).

    xo eleanor “i’m too good for lj” hyde

  3. jorbdan says:

    Isn’t third the “golden turd”? That’s what I always heard. Well, now that Eleanor is a nerd, we can all get the up-to-date word on the happenings in her life. I haven’t conferred with anyone on this, but a bird hit our window once and looking out after that, your was blurred.

  4. Geoffrey Chaucer says:

    one could look at steps as leading to heaven,
    or one could see steps as things to trip on,

    I always liked the handicap ramp better anyway,
    It may take you longer to get where you’re going,
    but it’ll definitely be more scenic and less stressful

    Or what about escalators?
    Or those moving platforms that take you between
    Airport terminals?

    These are all better then steps.


    nobody ever goes through steps backwards (one would certainly suffer greatly), but you’ll never reach Jerusalem’s golden gate if you move forward through steps, because numerically you’re going down steps. I don’t want to go to Hades, do you?

    Plus, one time I was walking up some steps and I dropped my glass and lost like five shots of Jim Beam, how is that creative?

    So basically steps equal tragedy, and not the creative, heart wrenching tragedy into which your word play may be attempting to suck me. No, this tragedy is on the order of the mundane, the superflous, the inconsequential.

    And what about elevators? We forgot all about that. Many don’t even stop on the 13th floor, now that’s good luck.

    Now don’t step on me, it’s just my opinion.

  5. eleanor says:

    well geoffrey, maybe I’ll just build a slide. I like slides. But really, personally I feel that every endevor needs a certain level of risk to make it exciting. So if I need to risk ending up in hell, or tripping on the stairs in order to write something work reading, then isn’t it worth that risk ??

    but to be perfectly honest, I have no idea how loosing five shots of Jim Beam is creative. Maybe you could write a poem about it. A Eulogy. but then, what were 5 shots all doing in one glass? nevermind. I don’t want to know.

  6. [...] The individual parts of this doll seem to be finished and I am feeling very dissatisfied. It might worry me except that it happens every time I get to this part of the project. I keep thinking of E’s essay on the writing process. Different but the same. My process goes something like this- Something plants the seed of an idea; a photograph, a painting, a piece of fabric or trim. The idea ferments, usually for months. Finally I get to work. I go through waves of satisfying flow and then frustration until I get to this point and I hate what I’ve done… then I tweak it and can usually get to a place where I am happy. So… I am looking at what I’ve got. The face needs something. I keep seeing a shadow of Michael Jackson. Scary. Maybe it’s the hair. The hair isn’t right… hmm. A hat? Would that make the difference? The pants need to be shortened. They are rolled in this picture. The cape? Lining? An environment? Oh, jeesh, I don’t know. [...]

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