The 5-Step Writing Process: From Brainstorming to Publishing

Every writer has their own routine and writing process, but there are five key steps that every book requires. At Author Solutions, we are here to help you make your book a success from the very first step. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you complete the five steps of writing a book – from brainstorming to publishing – that help to simplify and organize the process.

1. Prewriting

Prewriting is an important first step in the process. It includes the many things you need to do to prepare for writing, from identifying and fleshing out your idea, to doing any research you may need to do to support the work.

Three exercises that are useful to most writers to help identify and flesh out an idea are brainstorming and/or free writing. Brainstorming is a process often used by corporations and organizations to help set goals and identify key connections.

  • Brainstorming is simple and you should do it spontaneously without any concrete plan. Simply write your main idea in the center of a piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Around this inner circle, start writing all of the possible directions that the idea could take.  Visually organizing your thoughts in this way will help you find connections within your ideas that could help you fill in gaps in the story line.
  • Free writing is similar to brainstorming, but is done linearly by simply writing down every idea that pops into your head. Have fun with this and just let your ideas flow freely, without any editing or hesitation.
  • Note-booking is simply keeping a notebook with you at all times in which you can write down ideas as they occur to you as you go about your day. Stop whatever you’re doing and take a minute to write your ideas down so you won’t forget them.

Once your ideas are written down, you can begin to sort through them and choose the ones that will best support your story. For many authors it’s helpful to create an outline at this point, organizing the ideas that you’ve selected into a workable order. Remember to keep all your notes even after you publish your book, as you may wish to continue to expand upon some of these ideas in future projects.

2. Writing

Once you have your ideas fleshed out, you can begin writing your first draft. Pick your ideal writing time and location so you can work without interruptions or distractions, and commit to writing a few hours every day. Since this is only a first draft, don’t worry about things like word count or grammar at this time. It’s fine if you ramble or go off topic at some points. As you did in the free writing exercise, enjoy yourself and let your ideas flow. Author Solutions also offers support for writers to help you stay on task and complete the writing process within your allotted time.

3. Revision

Once you’ve completed your first draft, it’s time to revise the work. This stage is critical because it defines the structure and flow of your book.  One approach that many writers find helpful during this stage is the A.R.R.R. (Add, Rearrange, Remove, Replace) approach, which works as follows:

  • Add: This is the stage at which you can start considering word count. The average novel is between 60,000 and 100,000 words in length and should contain all the information a reader will need to fully comprehend a story. If your story is too short, check your notes and consider adding more scenes or details to the work.
  • Rearrange: Think about how you want your story to flow, and consider the pacing and sequencing of the plot. Could moving some scenes around improve the story line or add more suspense to your story?
  • Remove: Once you’ve added extra scenes and details, check your word count again.  If there is too much information, or some sections seem too long, eliminate any passages that feel unnecessary or repetitive or that may distract your reader from the main plot.
  • Replace: Ask friends to read your manuscript and give you feedback. They may suggest adding more details, or point out things that seem more or less important to them. At this point, you can rewrite and replace scenes that don’t seem to be working well.

4. Editing

Once you’ve written and revised your story, you’ll need to edit the manuscript line by line and word for word to check for errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as clarity and repetition. It’s best if you can hire a professional editor for this. If you need to find a good editor, Author Solutions provides affordable editing services.

5. Publishing

Once your manuscript is edited and ready to publish, you can take advantage of Author Solutions’ comprehensive publishing services. You’ll also want to start thinking about how to market your book, which Author Solutions can also help you with.

About Author Solutions

If you’re looking for assistance in getting your manuscript published, consider turning to the experts at Author Solutions, an entity that has empowered more than 250,000 authors who have brought more than 300,000 published books to market across six continents. Author Solutions provides comprehensive editing, publishing, marketing, and distribution services for authors working across a variety of genres and helps these authors serve audiences all over the world.  

Author Solutions maintains strategic partnerships with such traditional publishers and media companies as Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, Hay House, and Reader’s Digest and have operated successful self-publishing imprints for these companies for more than a decade. Author Solutions has also created opportunities for authors to get their books adapted for television or film, thanks to their first-look partnerships with major players in Hollywood.

For more information on how Author Solutions can help you publish your manuscript, please visit

Angelee Editor

Highly skilled professional with experience within the healthcare industry in network management, facility contracting and quality operations