Writing a novel is a slow process; don’t feel the pressure to rush it.

Are you feeling pressure from your nearest and dearest to finish writing your novel?

A writer I worked with recently talked about the pressure she gets from people around her to get on with it. I’ve seen this over and over. It can be hard – if people know you’re writing a novel, they want to know how it’s going, when it’s coming out. They are keen to read it.

When someone casually asks, ‘How’s the book coming along?’ it can trigger all sorts of emotions, and is sometimes an impossible question to answer. It really depends what day it is, how you are feeling about it, what stage you’re at.

Non-writers have no idea what an epic journey writing a novel is. It’s not something you can rush. You are spinning a world from nothing.

When ideas for a book are living inside your head, it’s a kind of free-form experience. You can float around inspecting and exploring things from different angles, coming up with ideas within ideas. But once you try to corral those ideas into little black squiggles on a white background, it’s like having to reduce something from 3D to 2D, and that’s no easy task.

You might explore a line of the story, then find it’s taken you down a rabbit hole.

You might have an end you’re working towards, then find your characters have other ideas.

Maybe you follow those characters’ ideas, then discover that you were right all along. Back to square one.

Sometimes it can feel like a frustrating, circular process.

Sometimes you might feel like giving up.

But let me assure you: no writing is wasted writing.

Every word you put on the page is getting you closer to finishing your novel, even if those words don’t end up in the actual book. It’s all part of the process, which is why you can’t rush it. It’s a journey of discovery.

You’re in good company

Even the most experienced writers need to take their time.

A few months ago, I saw Melbourne writers Sophie Cunningham and Emily Bitto at Clunes Booktown Festival talking about the writing process of their latest books. Emily spent six to seven years on Wild Abandon. Sophie’s book, This Devastating Fever, was 16 years in the making from her first ideas and early research through to its final form. Sophie’s experience is the extreme end of the spectrum (the concept of the book transformed several times throughout her research, and she was working concurrently on other books), but the point is, even the most seasoned writers need a lot of time to get their books where they want them to be.

So, if you’re feeling pressure from your nearest and dearest, don’t take it on. Perhaps let them know that…

A Catcher in the Rye and Gone with the Wind, took 10 years to write…

Cover of The Catcher in the Rye cover of Gone with the Wind

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone took six years…

cover of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone


Game of Thrones took five…

cover of Game of Thrones

…and the list goes on.

So, you are in good company.

You don’t have to do it on your own

Speaking of company, the other thing to remember is that most professional writers have support along the way. This might be from their editors, agents or colleagues who read early drafts and give feedback.

Writing is a solitary occupation, but it doesn’t have to be an isolated one.

If you’re feeling like you’re going round in circles, are struggling with self-doubt, or would like someone to talk your ideas through with, I can help. You’d be surprised how much confidence and direction you get from a single dip your toe mini appraisal.

I’d come to a standstill with my writing process and contacted Lu for a mini-appraisal. After reading only a few chapters of my work it was obvious to me that Lu ‘got it’. She had a true sense of my characters and which direction I wanted to/should take them in. She made a few suggestions that I would never have thought of myself but feel will benefit my work immensely. I felt comfortable and at ease with her from the beginning and hope to work with her again soon.

PM Edwards

If that sounds like something you need, why not book a no-obligation discovery call to find out more?

Book a discovery call



Want more writing tips like this?

Sign up to my email list for more tips and tricks, as well as notifications of events and discounts. Nothing too spammy, I promise.

You can unsubscribe at any time if you decide it's not for you.

...almost there...

Thank you for signing up to my email list.







Lu Sexton

Hello, I’m Lu Sexton. I’m an editor and writing coach. I’ve been working with writers like you since 2009 and I love it. My mission is to help you bring out the best in your writing and get you one step closer to being published.

Ask me how