In Stage 1, you write for yourself. More daydreams than proper stories, your writing at this point appeals to you more so than other people. These stories tend to reflect your desires and fantasies and may contain in-jokes and references unfamiliar to a general audience.
In Stage 2, you strive to break free of your narcissistic writing shell and communicate with a wider audience, but your reach exceeds your grasp. You’re aware of what you want to write but you’re caught in that in-between space of partially-developed and fully-fleshed-out stories. This is usually where you begin receiving your rejection letters. Keep these. Sure, they’re crushing at the time but they’re great to look back on once you’ve sold your work.
In Stage 3, your stories have begun to flesh themselves out but they’re still not where they need to be structurally and/or technically. This is also where you begin to work on improving your character development.
In Stage 4, you’ve acknowledged and tackled all the problems in the previous stages, and though you haven’t totally mastered them yet, you can compose stories competently enough to jam your foot in the doorway of the professional writer field.
Are there other stages? Sure, and I’ll address them in a later post (this should be more than enough for you to gnaw on for now), so until next time…
Sally forth and be writeful.