The best way to develop a writing process is to write, and write a lot. It takes time for the rough, blurry edges of your process to sharpen into full focus.
To complicate things further, the process for a short piece will be different than it is for a long piece. Fiction and nonfiction will vary. Writing a screenplay will follow a completely different process than writing a how-to article.
I wrote dozens of articles, short stories, and poems and three novels (Okay, we're being honest here, right? Make that three partial novels.) without a strong, sharp process. It wasn't until I wrote my first screenplay with a writing partner that I discovered the beauty of a focused process.
Screenplay writing is heavily structured and formal. It reminds me of sentence diagramming but on a much larger scale--everything has its place. What you write is wholly and creatively yours, but where you write it and how you express it is wholly defined by the industry-standard screenplay format.
When you write a screenplay with a writing partner, you have to have a process that focuses you both. When we finished our screenplay and I started writing my fourth novel, I was fascinated to discover that the majority of the screenplay process translated nicely to novel writing. And it must work because we finished our screenplay in just a little over four months, and I finished the first draft of my novel in two and a half months. I'm currently on draft three, and on schedule to complete it by the end of the year so I can start agent shopping in January--I started writing my first draft in July.
There's a reason I didn't finish the first three novels--I didn't have a process. Having a process focuses me...and my writing projects.
Do you have a writing process?
Visit me tomorrow for another Writer's Leap 366 lesson, which will include my writing process.