Okay, so I just finished part of a MS to give to my agent and I'm extremely proud of it. The next step is to edit another MS and wait for his edits to come back on the first one. Then I will do his edits while I send him the other edited MS, then wait for those edits to come back and do those. Hopefully those will be the last edits there are.
The reason I'm telling you all this is because I don't think anyone really realizes how much editing and hard work writing is. Yes, anyone can do it, but it isn't just a sort of "I always wanted to write a book one day" kind of things. Writing a book takes a little more effort than just one day.
One of the hardest parts of writing for some people is coming up with ideas to write about. (Why do you think one of the number one questions asked at author Q and A's is "Where do you get your ideas from?" Unfortunately, there's no one answer for that. Luckily, I've never had much trouble coming up with a concept for a book, it just sort of happens. (I got the idea for the zombie books while making fun of Twilight, believe it or not.) I sometimes flounder on the story, but never enough to make me call it quits. I'll usually live in agony without being able to write for a day or two before I'm doing some mundane task and it comes to me.
Then comes the editing. Endless editing is the way I write. It's the way I suggest anyone looking to begin a writing career write. A lot of people do a first draft, second draft, and polish. This is pretty much the standard, as far as I know. What I do is read the last 10-15 pages I did before I start writing every day, fixing everything I come across that needs fixed, tightening the loose bits, and balancing the awkward sentences, phrases, and paragraphs. After that, once I've totally immersed myself in my "writing mindset" (as I call it) as well as my story, I write. I usually try to set a writing goal, but I never really stick to it. I write until I run out of the idea I'd thought of, or keep going if I get more as I go (which is usually the case), normally only stopping when life calls. (Having an almost bursting pregnant fiance makes that the case most of the time these days, and I'm sure it will be even more frequent once our son is born.) That's why I try to get a lot of writing done late at night or early in the morning, while normal people are sleeping.
After I finish the entire manuscript that way, I will do a second draft, then a polish. Sometimes, due to my heavy editing during the first draft stage, the second draft isn't much more than a polish, and the polish is more like a once-over, but there you have it. There is my process.
But wait, there's more! After that it's off to the agent, who will give me stuff to edit after going over my work with a fine-toothed comb. Then I'll do those edits. Hopefully he won't have any more after that, but it's very possible. So then I'll do those edits. Then more. Then more. Until it's absolutely perfect. (Absolutely perfect being it looks like it wasn't edited a trillion times, and I've made this tough process look easy.) Then my job takes a break for a time while my agent does his stuff.
So there it is. The second writing post. Now you know how I write my novels. Pretty exciting right? Hah.