Writer's Next Step

Helping you take the next step in your writing career

The Three Simple Steps to Captivating Your Readers

Your deadline is approaching, and the screen is still blank.

Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe via cc

Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe via cc


It’s so frustrating to bridge the chasm between an idea and a finished piece. You rely on inspiration to show up, and you stress out far more than you should about whether you’re good enough.

It shouldn’t be this hard, right?

After a while, I learned it wasn’t.

I’m the queen of overcomplicating things. But over time, I learned if I just get out of my own way and follow the roadmap I already know, I can do anything.

Despite knowing this, though, it still took me a while to figure out what the process looked like for writing.

As a creative who got paid to plan, I’ve always fought that dissonance. And I’ve spent a lot of time working with other creatives who felt the same way.

But as I listened to their frustrations over and over again, I started to see the pattern.

I figured it out, and I want to share it with you.

It’s still a plan (which the project manager in me loves).

It’s still focused (which the entrepreneur in me loves).

But it allows for variation and creates the space for inspiration to happen. And it can be applied to any writer’s walk.

Step 1: Schedule discipline

Research shows that you’re almost two and a half times more likely to do something if you schedule a specific date and time.

I write best when I do it at 5:30am. I miss my word count on days when I just think “Oh, I’ll do it at some point.” Pick a specific time, even if it’s only 15 minutes, and put it on your calendar. Every day.

Step 2: Follow a process

Great writing is rewriting.

It’s amateur to think you can plop down and go from idea to finished piece in one sitting. Do people do it? Yeah. Do I do it sometimes? Sure. But it’s never my best work, and it’s not reliable.

Work out a process for managing ideas, drafting and revising a piece, and then finishing and publishing it.

Wanna follow my proven process?

Download a FREE writing process worksheet now.

Step 3: Get feedback

We are horrible judges of our own work.

It’s a writer’s curse that we can simultaneously think something we’ve written is both the most profound thing ever put into words and also the biggest piece of garbage ever created. (Sorry, but it’s true.)

When you’ve taken a piece of writing as far as you can, reach out to a friend who can tell you the truth (with kindness) and share suggestions to make it stronger.

What’s your writing process? Is it working for you? Share your experience in the comments…

Download a FREE writing process worksheet now.

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About Christine

I’m a writer, a recovering project manager, and a corporate refugee with a passion to share the lessons I've learned. I've worked with bestselling authors to launch nearly a million dollars' worth of books and online courses. I've seen what works (and what doesn't), and I know what it takes for a growing writer to get your work out and grow as you go.

14 Replies

  1. Heather

    Christine: Writing is rewriting. So true. Anyone who believes otherwise perpetuates the myth of the glamour of writing (why do movies have a heroin(e) that’s a writer?) I appreciate that you share that you like to plan, focus and create. Me too. Just downloaded your process form and look forward to applying it. Thank you.

    1. Christine

      That constant tension between planning and doing is great fun. Hope the worksheet is helpful for you!

  2. Denise

    I love that you’ve broken it down into three steps. I hate that I have not been consistent on any of the three. I think I will work on the first one….I’m getting closer to finding the time that works best for me, and then I will work on two and three. Thank you, Christine!

    1. Christine

      One step a a time, right? I’m glad you’re experimenting to find your ideal time. 🙂

  3. I struggled yesterday. Oh man did I struggle. In spite of my schedules and my processes, it was still a tough gig, but at the end of the day it was also mission accomplished. On a day when I needed some encouragement that I’m approaching things in a way that works, it was great to read this post. Thanks, Christine!

    1. Christine

      Glad it encouraged you, Crystal…those hard days suck, but the accomplishment feels terrific, doesn’t it?

  4. I still get nailed on the first one. The regularity of the discipline–the same time every day, for instance–I do not do. My own worst enemy some days. Thanks for this encouraging reminder. I love the note about the paradox–our being convinced about the profundity and utter worthlessness of our own writing. Hahahaha!

    1. Christine

      It’s hard to stay that disciplined, especially since I don’t have the structure of a formal day-job. I’ve moved back to a paper planner (first time in ~15 years) and it’s really helping. When I remember to open it, that is. 🙂

  5. Debbie

    I’d have to say that only sometimes does my process work. With goals of submitting short pieces, blogging, and working on the novel, I have to consider total time available, and then schedule time for each. I’m learning to let blog posts go without the same process as articles for submission. Nobody is going to read my blog and say, “Not bad writing, but not for us.” I hope : )

    I’ve made a worksheet for tracking submission ideas/markets, etc. but never considered one for process so I look forward to seeing yours!

    1. Christine

      Good point…time is certainly a factor. For me, I still follow the same process/steps, I might just spend a lot more or less time in some of the steps depending on the piece or project.

      Your submission tracking sheet sounds super-helpful!

  6. Whitney

    My creative side resists discipline, but getting out of my head would be easier with a plan.

    1. Christine

      I hear ya! I find it helps to schedule down-time and even full rest days to help give that creative side some space to run and play while still keeping enough discipline to get stuff done.

  7. I LOVE this post! It’s such an encouragement for people who are creatives as well as entrepreneurs. There’s no question that the single best step I’ve taken within writing is to schedule discipline, as you outline here. You can’t get the work done if you don’t regularly cut out time for it! Thank you for this awesome post and I look forward to more!

    1. Christine

      Heh…I’m in the last few days of a 3-week vacation where I’ve not really written at all, even though I’ve had time. I think I’ve proven that one pretty definitively!

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