1. Inspiration! This is by far the best phase. Maybe you’re hanging out with some friends, playing cards and drinking, or you’re working out or you’re driving and BAM! the muse strikes! “Wouldn’t this make a great story?” you think. Over the course of an hour or a week or a month, it differs every time, your brain goes back to the story again and again, fleshing it out, adding characters, adding scenes. You think it could be good, you decide to get started.
2. Procrastination. This is the phase in the project when you decide that you are going to write. Maybe you sit down and open a new document. You put your fingers to the keyboard and realize that, OMG! You forgot to unload the dishwasher! While you’re at it you realize the kitchen is actually super dirty and needs to be cleaned right now. Then you’re hungry so you eat. Next thing you know, you’re passed out on the couch.
3. Actually, seriously getting down to it. You ran out of things to do around the house or have been shamed by a loved one (this is Hubby’s job) into actually starting that project. You sit down and get started and, holy crap, you are actually enjoying yourself. You soar into a literary world where everything is at your command. You write and write and feel pretty good about it.
4. Crippling self-doubt. And then you realize that what you are writing is complete and utter shit. You collapse on your keyboard. You get really drunk and sob about never being a great writer. You compare yourself to Hemingway and Faulkner, Plath and Woolf. Everything in your life is also shit. How could you have been so stupid!
5. The Dammit All to Hell Phase. This is where you say, “Screw it! I’m doing it!” You take off in flights of fancy. You write some great stuff and some great crap but you write and eventually you “finish” and that, my friends, feels great.