The 5 Stages of Writing (Satire)

*This post contains adult language.

Before I get started, I just wanted to thank everyone for your support and interest of the poem, Intuition. It’s receiving a surprising amount of attention, and to answer the number one query, yes, it was one of the poems I selected as part of my new poetry package. Life is simultaneously brilliant and totally fucking stupid. Feeling remains where logic fails. Sometimes it’s all we have to work with.

So, thank you. When I manage to write something that relates to so many, that’s when I’m most happy.

The 5 Stages of Writing, by Christina 

I’m quarantined and I’m getting all up in my Jack-Nicholson-as-Jack-Torrance-isolated-in-the-Overlook-Hotel-feels because I’m a high energy person and as much I love to write, I’m like a German Shepherd in that I can be a real nightmare when I don’t exercise regularly (my gym is closed and it keeps raining so I can’t even run, and if my doctor is reading this – no, not real running – the walk/run thing we discussed so I don’t totally blow my knee out). My mental energy has gone into overdrive as a way to try and relieve some of the pent up tension, and bless my brain for trying, but it’s just not the same as exercising your metaphorical demons into submission at the gym. All that being said, and if you couldn’t tell by this paragraph, expect an increase in blog ramblings and Random Nonsense posts until either a) the weather stops being an asshole and I can do my weird run/walk thing or b) the standards for social distancing lighten up and I can go back to the gym.

Now that I have my writing work down to an annual rhythm, I see a pattern that occurs despite my ever increasing familiarity with the writing and publication process.

Present Day Christina (PDC) running present day commentary on Old Christina’s (OC) thought processes, and thus The 5 Stages of Writing are revealed.

Stage 1 – HOPE

OC: I have a story burning inside me and I just know if I can get it out of me I can help others, maybe even inspire others. I’m so excited and I will never not be enthusiastic about my work. I will always put my best energies into this! My work needs me and I need it! I will never get tired of dedicating my best efforts into this story! Hashtag writerslife, baby!!!

PDC: Fucking idiot. You have deadlines. There is no hope, only deadlines.

*shuffles through a kitchen drawer* Where’s the goddamn corkscrew? This new cab looks delicious and mama gonna crack it open. Oh, never mind. It’s a cap. Suh-weet.


OC: Wow, this is turning out even better than I thought! Okay, I admit, those weeks spent revising a single sentence could have been better spent but I’m really getting the hang of this. I think the story is shaping up really well and will be instantly understood by the audience. *nervous chuckle* Who knows? I might even submit to publishers and agents this year. I mean, it totally needs more work, I know that, but I feel like it has a shot? Am I crazy? I mean, time will tell, right? But honestly, I can totally see submitting this work. And you know, I’ll never get tired of this story, like ever. I will always be enthused for my projects. I mean, like, hashtag killingit, right?

PDC: *laughs maliciously* You asshole. *pours another glass*

What you don’t know, you will get tired of your work because your work is a reflection of you and if you had chosen any other profession than writing you might not have to see the dark side of your soul everyday. That’s why you will get tired of your work. How often do you think you can bear to see your soul, your worst thoughts about yourself, and all of mankind, until you feel the disgust begin to creep up on you? I’ll tell you, you’re feeling it now. The thoughts and feelings inch their way ever upwards like a slow growing vine, the greater it’s length the deeper the root; the ever growing disgust with your natural thoughts and feelings. Then you go and make things worse by examining the thoughts and feelings of others doing your best to copy/paste real life onto flimsy ass characters no one’s paying you to make up…you…dumb…twit.

Stage 3 – EDITING (aka It Hits You)

OC: Okay. I love my work I do, I really do but but but… OH MY GOD WHY DID I DID THIS!? Everything I’ve written is TOTAL CRAP. This will never be published. An agent would take one look at this nightmare and scream. I’m must’ve been outta my mind! WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF!? WHY!? WHY!? WHY!?

PDC: *psychologically and emotionally numb* Calm down, bitch. If it’s garbage, it’s garbage. No amount of editing will make a bad story a good story.

*pours another glass, slurring* Ask yourdelf…is it a gewd strwie? Desent is aceptible to. Keep eddditing, betch. U will b fine, lol, Smilley face. Wait. Am I txting or blugging?

Stage 4 – PUBLISHING (aka Self-Crippling Doubt)

OC: Oh god. Why did I submit that? Oh my god, I take it back. Oh my god, I take it back. OH MY GOD, I TAKE IT BACK. *for the first time, introduces wine as a mechanism for calming down*

Get it together. It’ll be rejected and then they’ll forget you ever submitted. You know what? Your story will go straight to delete and it will be like it never happened. You can go back to work and forget all about this little “writing phase” of yours. They were right. They were all right. They all tried to warn me: Christina, it’s not going to go anywhere. Christina, how do you know your story is even good? Christina do you even know the odds of being published? Christina, you left your salaried, fully compensated career for this? What the fuck were you thinking? ARe yOu StuPid, cHrisTina? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, I’m stupid. I should never have done this.

*gasps in realized horror* What if the agent doesn’t delete it? What if they show it to everyone in the office and laugh it? What if they put my name down on some kind of worst-submission list? Oh god!? That’a a million times worse than being deleted!!!

PDC: *drunkenly* Psst. Hey betch. Psssssst. Listen ta me, just listen ta me. K? You lissten’ ta me? Just shut up a minete. Listn. Listn. Shut up n listn. K? I know somethin’ u don’t.

U rite intense shit. U know what I mene? Like, life is gabrage and u rite about the gabrage, and it’s like real gabrage. Luv, hate, payn, passsssionnn, u do all that shit man. It hurtz when u rite it cuz it comes from a rEaL place. Other people make their shit up, u don’t cuz u don’t half too. We live in the ReALness. Still do. Member Snowbound? That’s a fucked up stwrie, like srsly. Publizsed tWIce, betch! *punches air in drunken triumph*

People gon say thanks n stuff for sayin the shit they can’t say or don’t know how to say about the life gabrage. ThAt’s YOur JOb now, betch. Talk bout the gabrage. Tell the stwries. ANd say the feelins’ n stuff cuz for some fucked up rezon u rite pooetry now – got publizesd in that two. Like, da fuck!?

OC: Oh.

PDC: YEah. Reealllly makes u thi8nk.
*falls into bed, mumbling* Do we have any aVocaDOes? Hungry.

OC: *concerned* I don’t think you should be trying to open an avocado right now. You’ll cut yourself.

PDC: Croisssants? Oh my gawd. Id dye for a crosssant…oh my gawd, CHoCoLAte croissant!

OC: Just some crackers, I think.

PDC: Fuck crakERS.
*smirks* U know, we’re gonna rite ERoTiCa in the footure.

OC: *shocking disbelief* Oh come on now. Poetry I understand but erotica!? You really are drunk. I mean, I know we like to read it but write it?

PDC: Oh ya. Peoplez is verrrrrrryyyyyy xcited bout it.

OC: But why? What do we even know about writing erotica?

PDC: Somethen’ bout some fuckin’ video on Tube n peoplez got all hard about it. I don’t know man, I jus work here. *passes put*

OC: My god…the publication process is weird.

Stage 5 – REPEAT STAGES 1 – 4

And that’s the 5 Stages of Writing!

Yours in Quarantine,
Christina Schmidt, MA