Part 2: The Book Writing Process

“I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.” A blog reader

To recap, I shared in Part 1 the beginning of the writing process:

  1. Ideas
  2. Outline
  3. Character Profiles
  4. Pre-Book Trial Run


The fifth and next step is very important.

First Draft! It’s with great excitement mixed with trepidation that I begin writing. WILL this story actually form? My heart fills with gratitude as the words come, and I quickly become engaged in the story. How can I ever doubt?

I use Pages for writing. I have a document with my complete outline (which I’ve saved multiple revisions of as I created it), and I begin a new document for my book. I copy a portion of the outline INTO my book document, so I don’t have to switch back and forth as I write. I can refer to it and then delete the outline portions as I write them. I love having a whole section done so I can copy in the next part! I save my work to iCloud, and I also save revisions by duplicating the document and changing the number.

The goal of the first draft is to get the story written. Period. The fine-tuning doesn’t happen right now! I become attached to my characters. I picture my scenes as if I was right there in them. I love seeing the story take shape, and I praise the Lord for His overwhelming grace!


I find a quiet environment to write in, preferably away from my normal desk. With Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle, I wrote a lot of it at Joseph’s house, when he was away on a trip. I’ve written Moody books on the bus (when it was stationary!), at Joseph’s house before he got married, etc. For my current book, I wrote most of it in our spare room, with a few days at my grandma’s house when we had roofers here.

I turn my phone on airplane mode and turn off WiFi. I can’t stress how important this is! My phone can be such a distraction. Going for several hours at a time without checking e-mail or texts gives undivided attention to writing. Even when I take a break, it’s better to chat with a family member then turn on my phone. If there’s something to research, I generally mark it in my document, because I KNOW if I turn my phone on, I’ll be distracted. I’m not perfect keeping it on airplane mode, but I am very happy when I do!

Ellie is an awesome buddy and enjoys napping while I write, but sometimes she wants to play!

I make writing a huge priority. When God gives me a project and a vision, I work my hardest to get it done. This sometimes means turning down invitations to do something I enjoy. Also, I find if I go out in the morning, it’s much harder to concentrate the rest of the day. (Mom has encouraged moms for years on thisthe encouragement to stay home! If you go out in the morning, you’ll find it’s hard to stay on track for the afternoon!)

If I hit a writer’s block or just a difficult section, it’s okay. Some writing days are slower, but my page count still increases. The goal is to keep writing, even when it’s hard.

Finishing the first draft is an exciting moment! I praise the Lord for His grace and mercy!


Writing on the 4th of July!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me…
But my God shall supply all your need according
to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:13&19).

28 thoughts on “Part 2: The Book Writing Process”

  1. Dear Sarah,
    Well done for writing your book, you are very brave, gifted and persistent!
    I wouldn’t know where to begin!
    Ellie looks so cute, like she has no worries.
    Praise the Lord for his goodness.

  2. Writing sounds so much fun, though obviously there are times when it is difficult! Keep on, love your stories!

  3. It affects many lives – children are so precious to the Lord!!! And pure hearts and minds are of great value in His sight – “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” – Psalm 119

    “Unless ye are converted and become as little children…”

    Blessings in your work!

  4. My daughter Mikaela and I have been having a go at writing a book this year, and really loving it. One funny thing is that two things we wrote about have ended up happening to us – a chicken escaping from a cage at a hen auction, and a pregnancy! It’s been a joy. We’ve written the basic bones of four chapters and enjoy illustrating as well. Hopefully in a few years we will have something to share too. 🙂

    1. Yes, real life things are the best! 🙂 I love the everyday things too. In the first draft process on my current book, one morning, I saw “something” that I decided to put into my book.

  5. Great tips! Phones are such a distraction! Can’t wait to hear more about your new book!

  6. This is so wonderful, Sarah. I’ve been praying that God would give you inspiration as you write! So exciting to see into the process. I know the Lord will do amazing things through this!

  7. Well done Sarah!

    I love love LOVE that you are letting all of us into your writing world!

    This is such an encouragement for any person wishing to venture into writing, or to fruitfully develop any other skill the Lord lays on our path.

    Thank you and can’t wait for the next “chapter”!

    Many blessings,


  8. i also put on airplane mode when i need a break from my iphone…. it definitely help me focus on whatever projects need to be completed

  9. Something that helped me was joining NanoWriMo a few years back. You have a month to write 50,000 words and whilst I didn’t nearly reach that goal, it really motivated me to keep pushing on everytime I updated my word count and saw my percentage. I agree that first draft isn’t the time to polish up the imperfections (like I get distracted doing). You just need to WRITE! All the best 🙂

  10. This is such a helpful blog post! I reckon that all the tips can apply to all creative (and non-creative) areas of our lives.
    And let me just say that I absolutely love your books. I have several children that I babysit regularly and they know now that when I come … it means they’ll get to “listen to a book about the Moody family.”
    God bless you, Sarah! I’m putting the writing of your new book on my prayer list!

    1. Thanks, Marie! It makes me smile to know the children love the Moody books! 🙂 I’m very excited about this current book, and thank you so much for praying! That blesses me more than you can know!

  11. I totally agree with blocking out all distractions and also, with your mother regarding staying at home as much as possible. If I have to go out in the morning, I feel so tired and not wanting to do anything else when getting home. Don’t know why but that seems to be the way it is. We are looking forward to reading your new book.

  12. Yay! Love these posts. I just finished drafting my mystery and am working on the revisions. It’s funny how sometimes I sit down and the thoughts just flow, and other times I can’t think of a thing to write. But it is so exciting when you finally finish that first draft. I don’t have the phone problem, as my ipod isn’t serviced yet. Can’t wait for the rest of this series and you’re new book!

  13. I’m SO proud of you, sweet Sarah! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your writing world!
    Love, Mrs. Patti

  14. I use evernote the simaler to how you use pages for writing.By the way what is pages for writing? website? app?

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