Last week, I hosted the Writing Hour where I talked to writers at all various stages of the writing and publishing process.

One writer was frustrated with her progress (or lack of progress as it were) in her fiction story. She felt she'd been spending too much time on the character development and not enough time on the plot. "It's like I don't know how to do beginning, middle, and end."

As we talked further, we discovered that her time spent on character development hadn't been wasted.

"Are you happier with who the characters are now as opposed to when you first started?"

"Oh, yes!"

"Then that time wasn't wasted."

Writers (and anyone who creates) often forget that the creative process is as important (if not the most important) part of the writing process. We need the time to generate ideas and details and then go back and cherry-pick the best of those ideas and details. Then we write (and then edit and revise and go back and forth along the creative process flow line).

But if we sit down and think that we'll start writing beautiful words, sentences, and paragraphs without this creative step, then we get frustrated by the process. Because it doesn't happen that way. The ideas don't jump out of our heads and onto the screen or paper in perfect form. And when they don't (because this is what we expect), we think we're not good enough. We're not "real" writers. We're not professionals.

That simply isn't true. We just need to honor the creative process, to give ourselves over to it. If we don't, and just try to barge into later steps of the creative process flow line, then those other steps are harder, if not insurmountable.

I shared with her Bruce Coville's status on his newest book, The Last Hunt. He's on the ninth draft of the first three-quarters of the novel. That means he's rewritten the first three-quarters nine times. I suspect that he can't finish that last quarter until he has the first three-quarters just right. How will he know where to go and end the story until he's absolutely sure of where he's been?

He's traveling along the creative process and hitting the steps he needs to. Create, then write. Then maybe create again. Then write again. Then edit. And then go back to create.

Compounding the issue is our inner critic telling us that we're not good enough. That a "good" writer would be able to just start writing. That if we were really serious, we'd be able to write that fiction story and get away from the character development. That we might as well just give up as we're really not ever going to amount to anything.

Tell the inner critic to shut up, and then embrace the creative process. The inner critic has no place in the creative process. Creating should be a time of joy, of wonder, of "what if..." There's no time limit. There's no single right way to write. It's not always linear.

Follow your energy. Honor the creative process. And give yourself a break.

Author's Bio: 

Dawn Shuler, Content Creator Extraordinaire, helps entrepreneurs and authors convey their deep message into compelling words, whether it's marketing material or a book, as well as to create powerful content to increase their credibility, visibility, and profitability. Her soul purpose is to help entrepreneurs unleash their authentic selves into their businesses through their content. She created the Writing From Your Soul system to help business owners connect more powerfully, reach more people, and make a difference. Download the free, 13-step system at