Writing is fun, challenging and at times a real pain in the neck. Am I whining? No! Not at all. Just stating the facts. Here's how it goes (for me anyway)....
An idea niggles until it becomes full-blown (like a cold). It settles in for the long haul, working its way into my consciousness. From there, it becomes a nagging itch that insists it be scratched.
This can take some time, but eventually, the whole thing must be addressed, put into the computer or scribbled in a notebook somewhere, and then allowed to stew until it forms a story line. From there, it takes shape.
During its journey, the novel twists and turns like a snake weaving its way through tall grass. The story, and its characters, may take a few unexpected turns, make some stops, become mired and tangled, but sooner or later, it all works out.
These are the first steps, not the place where I get to write THE END. The story gets worked, reworked, reworked again, and again and....well, you get the idea. Just when you think this masterpiece is ready for debut, you find that the publishers don't want it, or it will be put into a slush pile somewhere, or that you'll be 100 years old before the novel becomes a reality for the public to read.
There are alternatives for those of us who refuse to sit around and wait for the magic wand of the publishing houses to grace us by publishing our story. There's often more money to be made by going to places like Create Space (paper portion of Amazon) or to Amazon's Kindle publishing. I know this is true since I have recently published my novel, Faerie Cake Dead, in Create Space and made sales. The first sales alone made more money than I ever made from the publisher who put the book out in ebook form. That isn't to say the book didn't sell well in ebook form, it's more like the sales were there, but when the money got divided up, what was left was a mere pittance by comparison.
If you're thinking of putting your novel up on Amazon's kindle or into Create Space for the paper book market, my advice is to go for it. You'll make more money, have total control (very important), and be happier with your experience.