For an amusing break in the pre-Christmas rush:
The 5 Stages of the Creative Process
1) Blissful inspiration: the stroke of genius which inevitably hits when you have no means of recording it: while you're asleep, driving in the car, doodling during a meeting at work or after the sixth drink at the bar. No matter how hard you try, the details which would have made Shakespeare weep gradually escape, leaving only the hollow shell of greatness.
2) Careful plotting: the carefully laid out interweaving of plot elements and character growth, following the universal story arcs. You know, the stuff you'll end up throwing out because the story ended up going in a different direction.
3) First draft: the finished product, the result of hours and hours of numb fingers pounding at the keyboard, midnight writing sessions and missed family and work events. The one you look up from, exhausted and exhilarated, only to be struck by the sudden realization that at least half of it is garbage.
4) Editing: the even more mind-numbing process of ripping your precious baby apart and rebuilding it again and again and again and again and again and again.
5) Release: when you take the story which you've slaved over and dreamed about and send it out into the world so that others can complain it wasn't exactly what they were looking for.
If none of that discourages you, then congratulations, my friend, you can join the slightly insane club of professional writers.