Trying to Develop a Writing Process? Expert Insights Here!

writing a book

I’ve been asked about my writing process many times, so here it is, short and sweet, messy and chaotic:

1. First, I think up all sorts of bad ideas for my books. My editor and agent are good enough to tell me that they are bad ideas. I think up more ideas. They’re still bad.

2. FINALLY, I have a good-ish idea. My agent and my editor like it. I celebrate by eating chocolate.

3. I start driving in the country. I garden. I daydream. I walk and walk. Why? I need the first line of my book. I do not write a book without knowing that first line. I wait for it to magically pop into my head. Like a spell. Or a curse.

4. Next, I write 2,000 words a day, 10,000 words a week, or I don’t go to bed on Saturday night. I’ve had some real late Saturday nights. But I have to set goals, or that dang book will not get written, friends, no, it won’t. Why? Because I would rather play than work. I would rather hang out with Innocent Husband and The Kids. I would rather call my laughing sisters and my dear brother. Writing books is haaaard. (Whine, sob, sniffle.)

independent author

5. When the first draft is done, I goal set again. I edit five single spaced pages a day. All of those pages are a total, complete mess. They’re an embarrassment. The writing is terrible. I told Innocent Husband that if a gargantuan stork ever carries me off and my book is still in draft form, he is to have a nice bonfire with it. When I’ve edited the whole wretched book at five pages a day, I move to ten pages a day, to fifteen a day, etc. Yes, it is brain-numbing.

6. I edit all my books eight or nine times before they’re off to my agent and editor. Right about the sixth draft I start thinking I should have been a carpenter.

7. I edit again with my editor’s comments, then through copy editing and proofreading. It’s about 12 times total. Did I mention the brain-numbing part?

8. When I finally send that edited book off, I get myself a mocha and sit and relax and go back to day dreaming.

Happy reading all.


Cathy Lamb is a successful author and has a new book just released this week.  Check out All About Evie and all of Cathy’s books on Amazon.

Cathy also penned a year-long series of articles especially for Ms Career Girl readers that go into the details of how she writes.  You can find the series here.