8 Steps to Unlock Your Writing Process
In this How To Write the Future episode, Beth Barany shares 8 Steps to Unlock Your Writing Process and shares information on her one-to-one Writing Assessment Session – on sale now, which will help help you get back to your writing.
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Beth Barany teaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.”
Learn more about Beth Barany at these sites:
Your Writing Process session ($99 for 60-minutes) (Jan. 2023 only, limited to the first 10 spots)
“I gently challenge you to be daring, to be bold, to be yourself, and put yourself into your work.”
In this episode of How To Write the Future, titled 8 Steps to Unlock Your Creative Process, creativity coach and science fiction and fantasy novelist Beth Barany, shares the 8 stages of her writing process with you, plus information on her one-to-one Writing Assessment Session, which is on sale now — a customized coaching session that will help you get back into the flow of writing your book.
ABOUT THE HOW TO WRITE THE FUTURE PODCAST
The How To Write The Future podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers.
Tips for fiction writers!
This podcast is for you if you have questions like:
- How do I create a believable world for my science fiction story?
- How do figure what’s not working if my story feels flat?
- How do I make my story more interesting and alive?
This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.
Transcript for Episode 23 8 Steps to Unlock Your Creative Process
Do you wonder if there’s something wrong with you because you stall out, forget about your book, and then wonder what happened?
Well, maybe it’s time to do a Writing Process Assessment, with me creativity coach, award-winning novelist, and writing teacher.
Sign up for your Writing Assessment session, and get back on track with your book.
Hi everyone, Beth Barany here of the How To Write The Future podcast.
Award-winning science fiction and fantasy author, fiction writing teacher, and writing coach.
I’m here to bring you fiction writing tips for science fiction and fantasy authors who want to create positive, optimistic stories. Because when we vision what is possible, we help make it so.
Today’s episode is all about writing process. And oh my God, do I know about all the problems with writing process.
I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped my writing project because, you know, life real stuff. And then it’s almost as if I woke up from a dream three months later with my heartbreaking, because I remembered, all of a sudden, oh yeah, my book. I love my novel.
I experienced this very painfully with the first novel that I was truly, truly in love with, and the first novel I published. My young adult fantasy adventure, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer.
And there were so many times where it was like, I would be jolted. I don’t know something would remind me that my book was waiting for me. I still needed to work on it. And I would feel so heartbroken. So I feel like I have become the master of how to restart after stopping.
And it all comes down to my own creative process.
So I’m here today to offer you some tips and tools so that you can know how to pick up the pieces and get back into your project when you have been interrupted by, you know, important things, maybe an illness of your own or a family member, maybe even just a fun thing, like a vacation or a trip or a wonderful opportunity. Or, it could just be, you know, daily life and the grind and the, and the day job and, um, and oh yeah, the interruptions from the cats and the animals and the dogs. And all of that.
So, learning how to get into the creative flow of your book and get back to work with your book, whether you’re writing or editing or whatever you’re doing, marketing, doing the publishing bits. Whatever. All the different parts.
This creative process, your creative process, is going to help you at every, every step, how to restart.
So I especially use it when I need to restart my project, but I also use it on a daily basis, even when I’m when I’m in the flow and I am working every day. I use my tools of getting into flow, uh, even then. Because your creative process is first and foremost tailored to you.
Number one, this is highly, highly tailored to you. And I do want to say that when you have, what are the benefits? When you have a consistent creative process, this can make all the difference you can go from not being very productive to being productive. If that’s what what’s important to you.
Having a good pre-creative process means you know that when you’ve stopped for whatever reason, you’ll be able to get started again. And I would say this is where it’s helped me the most.
I no longer slip into despair when I’ve had a break. I I’ll tell you what I do in just a moment.
So what are the starting steps?
1st step: Compassion
The first step is compassion. And so that is my first step. I have compassion for whatever interrupted my flow.
Or if you’re just starting out, have compassion for all the things that have been a priority up to now.
Also huge caveat. I want to say that because I’m a coach and I work uh, with authors, helping them tailor the writing process to them specifically, it is very hard to give a step-by-step process that’s going to fit everyone. That’s just impossible.
But over the years of working with hundreds of writers and dozens and dozens of writers very intimately, and taught workshops and classes have done tons and tons of presentations and fielded lots of questions. I have noticed these main parts, main steps, that I think can help just about everybody.
So have compassion, number one.
2nd step: Listen to Yourself
Number two, get still, and really listen to yourself. Pay attention to your dreams and your hopes and whatever is moving through you, moving through your emotions, moving through your physical body, moving through the spiritual body. Really, really listen to yourself and slow down. We have a tendency in our culture to be so much in a hurry.
And be so focused on productivity, what’s efficient, what’s effective that actually, we miss out on what our heart and body, and soul is really telling us.
So, whatever that practice is for you, however, you get still, whether it’s meditation. My favorite is going for a walk actually. For some, it’s listening to music. For others. It’s dance. For my husband, I noticed he plays piano and sings. So, whatever that is for you, take some time to really listen to yourself.
3rd step: Write It Down
And then, write that down. So this would be step number three.
If you want to be a writer. Write. Even in the privacy of a journal that you will never share with anyone. Write it all down. Say what you really, really want. Say whatever comes to mind, even if it’s silly, even if it’s a story idea, even if it’s bits of dialogue. Even if it is talking to the different parts of yourself.
It’s when you operate that hand-heart brain loop that you really get the writing engine going.
And if you have a different craft, and art and craft that you love, whatever it is, just get into it and just start playing with it.
And I really give myself lots of journaling time. I have a little process that I call “Journal To Write” and I have little entries. I just put the date. And I sometimes start my writing sessions with the Journal To Write. And here’s where I dump in my concerns and my worries and my fears and my what-ifs and, and I start bringing myself to my story and start asking myself questions about my story. And then from there, I often find the answer about what’s next in the story. Or sometimes I discover like, oh, I actually really want to be working on marketing right now, or, oh, I’m really jazzed up to do some research.
So it’s a great way to dialogue with yourself and really also write it down. Get into the habit of writing and get into the habit of telling yourself the truth. About everything. And this is private.
4th step: Work on Your Story
Now the fourth step, this is where you actually create. Work on your story, and work on the project. Sit down and do the work.
And I hear some of my writers say, “But Beth, it’s so hard to get started.”
And this is where we’re going to open the step up a little bit more and talk about what is the process of getting started.
5th step – Getting Started Rituals
For one of my clients, we developed a whole ritual where he got ready to sit down to write. You know, and, and I’ve noticed a lot of writers need to do this.
They’ll have their drink. And they’ll have their notifications off and they’ll queue up their writing music and they will tell themselves, “I have 10 minutes right now, or I have 30 minutes.”
And they put a big, do not disturb through the electronics. Maybe there’s a sign on the door. Maybe the door shuts.
There is that moment where you decide to write that you need to actually make sure your environment is exactly the way you want it. And that you are primed. This helps the actual writing process because it is hard.
Sometimes, I’ll sit down and I get a little petrified with, oh my, my sentence is going to be crappy. And I’m writing first draft material right now. So of course it’s going to be a crappy. So if you’re in the first draft stage, you have my permission to write crap.
If you are in the editing stage, remind yourself that you can always change it.
If you’re in the finalizing stage of a project– this is where I really build in a lot of other people’s eyeballs on my work, a lot of support because I can’t see typos. So I have someone who works with me on that. I, I just need someone to reassure me. It’s all going to be okay. I have someone for that.
I have another person reminding me, like almost doing a checklist with them. So I create a lot of support around the final finishing phase because personally for me, that’s the hardest.
So now we did. The writing. Now what?
In the writing process, I’m going to open this up, even more, I really encourage you and I dare you and challenge you to write really what’s in your heart. Especially in the early drafts of your work. Don’t worry about what the marketplace wants or what’s fashionable or trendy. Write what is true for you.
Because guess what? That’s what we want. That’s what readers want. That’s what I want when I watch a TV show, I don’t want to watch some rehash thing. I don’t want to read a novel. That’s like other novels. I want to really feel that the author put their heart and soul into the novel.
So I gently challenge you to be daring, to be bold, to be yourself, and put yourself into your work.
I heard this somewhere… I can’t even remember, honestly where I heard it, but it was this idea sticks with me.
When I’m, when I’m on the edge and I’m feeling hesitant about writing something, I say to myself, “Leave it on the page. Leave nothing out. Leave nothing for later.”
What that means is whatever is brewing in me that feels a little bit daring, a little bit edgy for me, it’s, it’s really what I need to put on the page, even if it scares me a little bit. It kind of makes my body hum with emotion. That will translate to the reader. That is a truth.
And as I was sharing this list with some, some of my trusted thought partners, one of them said, “Remind people that they might stall out here in the writing.”
So while you’re working on a first draft, today’s writing right in the middle of it, you might stall out. You’re like, oh, I have 30 minutes, but halfway. And you’re like, I don’t know what else to say. Or you might get kind of jolted.
By the realization that you need to go research something. Uh, and you don’t have all the information you need and that’s okay.
Have patience with yourself and allow yourself to stop and do the thing you need to do. And then come back.
Maybe you need to do more research. Maybe you need to talk it out with someone. Maybe you just need to sleep on it. And that’s okay.
So part of the writing process is letting our other than-conscious parts do a lot of work for us while we’re sleeping, while we’re walking, while we’re doing the dishes while we’re having a conversation with a friend. And then things will bubble up. Maybe you’ve read something that gives you that Aha. Maybe you’ve pulled a card.
I’m going to recommend the Mythulu deck and I’ll put the link to that in the chat,
Which makes you come up with a new idea. That’s great. Then come back to the writing.
This process requires patience and compassion. Remember the first step was compassion. And also some grace for yourself.
Being an artist is about feeling it’s about emotion and sometimes those emotions can be difficult and sometimes very powerful. So our job as an artist I feel is to take the emotion we’re feeling and translate that, put that into our art.
So that means we too we’ll be going through those emotions.
6th Step: Getting Feedback
I’m going to talk about step number six, which I mentioned earlier, but I’m going to mention. I’m going to pause here and talk about editing, revising, and asking for feedback from trusted people.
For many of us, writing our novels occurs alone. But the editing, the revising, and the rewriting does not. And for some more than others.
I admit I bring a lot of people into the process pretty early on. Not everybody does that, but I really thrive on it. Even so, even if you’ve written your first draft all by yourself, you’ve revised it 20 times by yourself, at some point you will need to show it to an editor or critique partners, or developmental editor like myself or writing coach who can help you figure out what’s you know, what’s missing. Or Beta readers. I use beta readers as well.
We need to know if our message came across. So at some point, if you want to be published author, it is your job to figure out if the message you intended in your story is being received. And you could only do that if you ask for feedback from trusted people.
7th step: Publish
Step number seven. Publish. Ship. Release. Get your work out into the world. Writing is communication.
From a very young age have felt like writing. these novels I would read the stories, it was like, it was like the author was talking to me and then I actually wrote fan mail starting around age 12, 13. And I just felt like they were talking to me and I wanted to talk back as a reader.
Even though I’m reading a book in my cozy bed. I feel like the author is talking to me. And I feel like I could just reach back and say, thanks, or tell them how much I love their work. And I still do that. And I’m here to tell you, I love hearing how readers love my work.
And I know other writers, especially independent authors love hearing that too. We love to hear how it’s landed. We love to hear what you loved.
So get your work out there.
It also changes you as a creative because it’s going to give you confidence. It’s going to give you spark about what to create next. Now you’ve left that book has left you and now you have room to create something new.
Also, your story itself will become something new because people will see things in it. You never saw and it’s just amazing. I love the feedback people have given me about my work, because it, it’s, it’s almost as if, you know, I did my part and then they actually make it more when they bring their interpretation and their insight and tell me what they loved about it.
8th step: Write the next story
And then the last step in the process is actually to write the next story. So that was step number eight.
If you need help tailoring the creative process to yourself…
So the creative process is going to be tailored to you. And if you need help tailoring the creative process to yourself, well then, sign up for my Writing Assessment Session.
I’m actually running a sale. It’s $99. If you grab one of the first 10 spots, I’m actually taking appointments in January 2023.
Because I’m finishing a book right now.
So if you feel like you yearn for a creative process tailored just for you so you can get writing. And you’ve tried a lot of other people’s tools and techniques, but nothing’s working.
And you also know that success, getting writing, is first an inner experience that then gets manifested outward, but something’s not working. Something feels out of alignment and you don’t know what it is.
Then check out my one-on-one Writing Assessment Session. It may be a great fit for you.
All right, everyone, write long and prosper.
Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2012061
or in your podcast home of choice.
- SHOW PRODUCTION BY Beth Barany
- SHOW NOTES by Kerry-Ann McDade
Contact Beth: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/podcast/#contact
EDITED WITH DESCRIPT: https://www.descript.com?lmref=_w1WCA
DISTRIBUTED BY BUZZSPROUT: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=1994465
For more “How To Write the Future” episodes, go here.
If you’d like to invite Beth onto your podcast, drop her a note here.