The 3 Phases of Your Writing Process

by | Dec 21, 2020 | Fiction, General, Non-fiction, Writing

As an author, you have your own specific writing process. Does it change depending on what you’re writing or does it stay the same? What is a writing process, and what are the essential elements to include?

Your writing process is the system you follow when you sit down to write your book. It involves three phases:

  1. Setup
  2. Writing
  3. Wrap-up

The Setup

These are the steps you take before you sit down to write. They help to alert your unconscious mind to get ready to write. This process will be unique to you and will depend on the time of day you write.

Nora Roberts deals with her emails, reads, and checks Facebook while she waits for her husband to go to work. Stephen King’s setup involves a cup of tea, a vitamin pill, and music.

I prefer to write in the morning, as that’s when I’m most productive. My setup is:

  • Put the kettle on
  • Turn my computer on
  • Make a coffee
  • Decide what to work on
  • Set a timer
  • Start writing

The order of these things is fairly consistent, but not always. In the summer, I often go for a walk before I write as it’s cooler. In winter, unless it’s raining, I walk after as it’s lighter.


Once you’re setup, it’s time to write. Even this will vary from author to author. Do you have a word count you aim for each session? Do you follow an outline or just start writing to get all your ideas out, editing them later?

Stephen King aims to write six pages a day, usually for 3-4 hours. Stephanie Meyers writes at night because there’re fewer interruptions and self-edits during the day.

I aim for at least 300-500 words during the 30-60 minutes I have before life intrudes. Writing this post forced me to think about my process, which I thought changed depending on what I was writing. While there may be slight variations, on the whole it remains largely unchanged.

What does change is my approach, depending on which stage I’m at. For example, if I’m in the draft stage, I just get all my ideas down without editing. I do a quick once-over of each chapter when it’s done, but leave the editing until I’ve finished the whole draft of my book so I can check flow and consistency.

If I’m writing a blog post or article, I use Jeff Goins 3 bucket system.


How do you finish your writing session? Do you just stop writing, save your work, and turn off the computer? Maybe you move things into different folders depending on the stage they’re at. Or do you make some notes for the next session?

I write until the timer goes off. If I haven’t finished, I note down any thoughts or ideas while they’re fresh in my mind. They serve as a reminder for my next session. Then I save my work, turn off my computer, and continue on with my day. There’s no right or wrong way; it’s what works best for you.

I’d love to hear about your writing process. Feel free to share it below.

Cheers to your writing success!