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Arts & Entertainment

Protecting Your Process

Dan Brown

Lesson time 15:39 min

When it comes to writing, Dan’s philosophy is simple: protect the process and the results will take care of themselves. Learn how to beat writer’s block and structure your writing habits in a way that maximizes your creative output.

Dan Brown
Teaches Writing Thrillers
In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Dan Brown teaches you his step-by-step process for turning ideas into page-turning novels.
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So you're setting out to write a novel. And you're smart enough to know that this is a long process. You need to understand that every day of the process, that it is a long process. You're not writing a song. You can't be inspired and finish this in a day. You are trying to write something that-- no matter how fast you write-- it's going to take you a long time. It might take you a year. It might take you three years. Which means that writing a novel is about a process. It is not all about inspiration and craft. It is about making sure that you set aside time every day to do your work. When I was just starting out as a novelist, I was often overwhelmed, the way so many people are when they try to write a novel. It's a big project. And you sort of feel like, how can I do all of this? And I heard a great piece of advice. And I put it on a sticky note, and I stuck it to my computer. And it basically said, "Protect the process and the results will take care of themselves." And all that means is that your job is not necessarily to write a novel. Your job is to get up every day, put yourself in the chair, do the very, very best that you can to create a novel, and eventually the pages will pile up and you'll have a novel. For most writers, myself included, the prospect of writing a novel is a little intimidating. And there can be moments when you say, I don't know if I can do this. And this idea of just protect your process and the results will take care of themselves, it just kind of lets you relax and say, wait a minute. Maybe all I have to do today is make sure that I get to my desk and do my work. [CLASSICAL MUSIC] Everyone is going to have their own process. For me, I like to write first thing in the morning. I am at my desk at 4 o'clock every day, 365 days a year. That is my process. That's my time. And by working early in the morning I signal myself that this is the most important thing you're going to do today. That's just the way I do it. Some people write at night. I know a lot of people who write in the morning, a lot of very successful writers. You're fresh. If you're up at 4:00 AM, nobody's calling you and there's no email pouring in. And speaking of email, my writing process includes a space that has no internet. I have no email pouring in, no matter what time of day it is. I've created a space that is essentially no email, no internet, no phone. And I just say, this is the place where I create. That's my process. I can get distracted in a hurry. We all can these days with the internet. It's so easy to say, I'm just going to research this one little thing. And you get online and three hours later you've learned a whole lot of stuff that's irrelevant to what you're doing. In fact, when I'm writing I may get to a moment in the text where I think, oh, I actually need a piece of information that I need from online. I can't go online. I don't have the internet where I work. I actually just put a bunch of big, red X...

Craft page-turning suspense

Packed with secret symbols and high-stakes suspense, Dan Brown’s thrillers have sold more than 250 million copies and include one of the world’s best-selling novels, The Da Vinci Code. In his writing class, Dan unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Fantastic Experience. I am following all the tips and Dan's writing style for children adventure books.

I really enjoyed it. Amazing tips and tricks, transparency and insights.

Excellent class and for me the best of the author series. Chapter 10 alone was worth the price! Dan Brown greatly helped me understand the novel writing experience as a series of steps, which until now I was totally at a loss about how to approach the process and what am I trying to accomplish along the way. Loved his enthusiasm and he clearly has a gift for teaching.

Excellent master class, Dan Brown! truly impressed!


Josh B.

This lesson was everything that I needed to hear going forward. My biggest sin in writing thus far has been not protecting the process. I now have index cards taped to my screen reminding me daily. I woke up for the first time the next day and began my new process again with everything he said in mind. It helped me so much! This is how I'll do things from now on. So sad that it took me this long to do it right.

Rose M.

The writing process is a journey. I didn't know the different kinds of writing. Thanks Dan :) I write fast and furious writing the draft and then I go back and rewrite. I find so many unclear sections no clue what I was thinking but the rough draft is what it is rough.

Brian H.

I appreciate what Dan says about no one is watching! Just write! Need to get out of my own head some times!

Dale U.

An invaluable lesson. The most memorable points for me are curing writers block by writing, staying in good physical shape, concentrating on hours instead of pages and oh yes, DARE TO SUCK! Love this class.

Melanie B.

My sting of strangers/characters are like the beads of a rosary. You taught me how to connect them to form a thriller. Thank you.

Ed Tandy M.

I love the process you use because it's yours, but you do it every day. You gave me some great ideas, on removing distractions. WOW. Easy, and brilliant at the same time.

Sion J.

4:30 It is so amazing how many things can happen and then go directly into a book. From a meal you might eat, to a conversation. This has been a very useful and validating series. Now I don't feel like an oddball.

Montana K.

Excellent. Dan Brown is a gifted speaker / teacher. Loved the emphasis on process.

A fellow student

Such an important lesson. I am so thankful to Dan Brown for every and each one of his words.


I really like 'Write Hours, Not Pages'. If we focus on the amount of pages, we're not focusing on the actual writing whereas if you give yourself a chunk of time to write, you can do whatever you can in that timespan, whether it's write a ton of words, or less than normal. Either way, you're adding valuable time to your novel