stack of books and open notebook. Label: Quotation

Quotation: On the Writing Process


Head shot: Catherine Ryan Howard

“writing a book is still bloody hard work. I usually start by letting an idea percolate and take shape in my brain, which looks a lot like re-watching things on Netflix and shopping for stationery. Then I superfluously color-code an Excel spreadsheet and use it to plot out the major twists, turns and reveals. Then I start writing, starting slow but speeding up as I go. I almost always write three drafts, and each draft is like a brand-new book—I say I have to write three books for every one. For the first and second drafts I’ll start with a blank document and start typing from scratch but when it comes to the third I’ll go into the existing document and make changes. Then there’s usually a polish after that, draft 3.5. The whole thing takes approximately 12 months from beginning to end, but I do a lot of my percolating while I’m putting the finishing touches like copyedits or checking page proofs, to the previous book.”

Catherine Ryan Howard

3 thoughts on “Quotation: On the Writing Process”

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Me too, Liz. Even though I don’t write fiction, I have had the experience of writing in flow happen to me, and it’s truly amazing!

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