Where Are You At? The Three “Acts” of a Writer’s Journey—From Newbie to Master

I thought this post by Kristen Lamb was a fun read.

It breaks down the stages of being a writer.

Stage 1 is the newbie stage.  Stage 2 is the apprentice stage and has three levels (early, intermediate, and advance).  Stage 3 is the mastery stage.

I thought it’d be fun to talk about the stage we’re all at and maybe some of the hardest lessons we ever had to learn along the way.

For details on the stages, I’ll link to her blog post so you can read it:

The Three “Acts” of a Writer’s Journey—From Newbie to Master.



  1. I think I’m in the apprentice stage, somewhere between intermediate and advanced. But don’t take my word for it: read my work and tell me.

    1. You’re the best judge of where you are, but from what I have read, you seem to fall in where you say you do.

      1. Thanks Ruth. I appreciate it.

  2. ronfritsch says:

    I must still be in the neophyte stage. This has never happened to me: “books likely will no longer be fun. Neither will movies.” I can’t imagine it happening either.

    1. I don’t think the entire apprentice stage is a total loss of fun. I think it ebbs and flows through the process of growth as a writer. But will all writers experience it? I don’t think so. I think it depends on the personality of the person who’s writing. 🙂

  3. revgerry says:

    Newbie here. Have some research notes and ideas and trying to figure out my essential message before I start my nonfiction book.

    1. It sounds like you are more in the beginning apprentice stage since you have already done research and are considering the harder questions as you begin to write. I think it’s awesome you’re getting prepared before you start the book.

  4. Hmm. After this many years, I would hope I was in the Master stage. I know YOU are, Ruth. 🙂 But I don’t agree that books and movies will no longer be fun in the Apprentice stage. That never happened to me.

    1. I think what she meant by “fun” is that the apprentice begins to learn that writing is hard work, that it takes time, dedication, and the willingness to go through the pain of rejection in order to improve the craft of storytelling. I did go through a stage where writing wasn’t fun because I was so caught up in the growing pains of improvement that I had lost that heightened sense of joy I experienced in the newbie stage. Once I pushed through the pain and realized I couldn’t please everyone no matter how hard I tried, writing became fun again. I’d say it took a good year before I resolved that one. I enjoyed the stories I wrote, but I didn’t have fun pushing through the negatives (reviews, emails, critiques, etc). So that’s how I take the apprentice “not fun” part of the journey, and I don’t think the apprentice stage is full of all “not fun” parts. I’d say it weaves in and out of the entire process.

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