It’s okay to write slow

We can be really hard on ourselves, and writing — honestly — can be so frustrating because it’s the exact opposite of everything that capitalism and hustler culture stand for.

Writing takes time.



We shouldn’t speak in absolutes and it’s true that writing a book doesn’t have to take a long time. There are indie authors who write and publish books every 6-8 week; they produce a draft, give it a quick edit, and hit publish.

Dead Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rush are big believers in the originality and authenticity that comes through fast drafting, though admittedly, they always give their fiction three rounds of edits before they publish.

For the rapid release model to be viable as a business, you need to publish new long form content every 3 months.

Sales will peak at the beginning, then taper off over the first, second, and third month.

Some writers maintain this publishing schedule because it’s their full-time job and they want it to become a sustainable source of income, however, there is a massive dropout rate because writing takes energy and many people find that writing 8,000-10,000 words a day and publishing a new 40,000-60,000 word book every three months is unsustainable and they quickly burnout.

To paraphrase the creator of 20booksto50Ks, Michael Anderle, if you stop writing and publishing books, you’ll stop making money.

Rapid release is an option, but it is not the only option.

This model works because it follows the rules of capitalism and hustle culture, but that doesn’t mean that it’s sustainable or enjoyable.

The problem is, most of us aren’t full-time writers, though for some of us that’s the dream.

Because we’re working other full-time jobs or maintaining a portfolio career, our writing time is less than we desire. We get frustrated that it is taking so long to finish a first draft, but writing (prior to the golden days of CreateSpace back in 2002) has always been slow with a few exceptions, such as Charles Dicken’s serial publications.

It used to be that releasing one book a year was considered fast and to be honest, I can’t imagine working at that pace, at least not at the moment.

For example, if I had published the first, second, or even third draft of my current manuscript, it would have been fine, but it would have lacked the complexity and emotional richness that the current (sixth) draft has.

You can write and publish at whatever speed suits you, this is totally in your control, but do not use your slower pace as a reason to beat yourself up.

Even when you work on your writing 2-3 hours a day, five days a week, it still feels slow because we’re often not ‘finishing’ anything. Instead, think of writing as a slow progression, a gentle unfurling.

Writing this way feels more enriching, satisfying, and rewarding. We’re able to go deep into the work, to explore all the possible variations, and we allow space for new discoveries and revelations to occur in the act of writing and when we are out living our lives.  

In this model, writing isn’t a product it’s a practice. It’s an activity that is connected to every other part of your life and every part of your life is connected to your writing.

You’re allowed to take your time, to get messy, to question the work, to lift your game and stretch your abilities, to work in short bursts and long walks. It’s okay to spend time on your writing. The world will wait, and when you’re ready, you’ll know that you did the right thing by yourself and the book because writing is the reward.

Now I’d love to hear from you. Do you wish you could write faster? Do you have the pace of your own writing frustrating, or do you enjoy taking your time? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it.


Access The Follow-Through Formula training video

Follow-through_ How to complete a long-term writing project (1)

Need help finishing that short story, novel, memoir? No problem. The Follow-Through Formula is a free video training which unpacks the five strategies you can use to go from idea to completed project.

To access, please join my email newsletter and you’ll receive a thank you email containing the link to the free video training.

You’ll also receive my weekly newsletter which is sent out every Thursday morning. This is where I share links to my latest blog and YouTube video as well as other inspiring goodies that I only share via email.

What’s Your Writing Superpower?

It’s human nature to want to progress. One of the best and worst parts of being human is that once we solve a problem or master a skill, we immediately start looking towards the next thing.

We don’t just do this to ourselves, but others too.

At a friend’s wedding, we ask when they will start having kids; a week after someone has given birth, we ask when they will have another; and we toast a new graduate while asking, ‘What now?’ (This problem is so prevalent that Ann Patchett wrote a commencement speech and then published a tiny book by the same name.)

We do this as writers too. We’re constantly looking for ways to develop our skills, to reach a greater audience, and to generally improve.

When we read a great work of fiction, we inevitably compare it to our own work.

The gap between where they are and where we are may be wide or narrow, but it is there all the same.

We’re told one of the best ways to improve our writing is to read more, and this is one of the easiest ways to become aware of our weaknesses as a writer, but it can also be a great source of inspiration as it shows us what is possible.

Reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing.

As creatives, we are so aware of the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

With our eye on the prize, we focus intently on our weakness.

We’re berate ourselves for being ‘bad’ at …

  • Setting
  • Description
  • Dialogue
  • Underwriting
  • Overwriting
  • Character
  • Plot
  • Structure
  • Tension

Of course, it’s important to be aware of our weaknesses, but I invite you to think about what are your writing superpowers?

What’s your writing superpower?

What aspects of writing come naturally to you? What can you do so easily that you’re not even aware of it, or think about it as special?

Write them down or ask a writing buddy, your critique partner, betareaders, or editor.

To give you a little inspiration here are my three superpowers:

  1. Dedication
  2. Discipline
  3. Application of feedback

You’ll note that none of these aspects have to do with craft element but instead relate to mindset and behaviour.

What writing skills come to you so naturally you don’t even think of them as special?


1 / Dedication

I gave up a lucrative job and moved city (multiple times) to pursue writing and writing-related study. (NB: I don’t have a mortgage or kids, but I do have a high tolerance for risk!).

You don’t have to give up your job or move cities to prove that you are dedicated to writing, those are massive decisions with massive ramifications, and to be honest, it’s the mundane, garden-variety dedication that creates meaningful results.

I started a weekly blog seven years ago and later a YouTube channel as a way to document my experiences and share all the writing advice I’d come across (and yes, to build a platform. Let’s be transparent here!).

I consume A LOT of writing-related content, which means I’m able to recommend other resources to my coaching clients and to reference them myself when needed!

I’ve seeped myself in this community for years, and while I don’t know everything, I know a lot.

My dedication to writing is the reason all of these things have happened.

I didn’t give up when I got rejected or even when other things had to become the number one priority.

2 / Discipline

I make time for writing and when I show up, I work with little distraction, not even my inner critic can stop me.

My inner critic may say things like, ‘This is a waste of time. You’re ruining your life. This sucks. You suck. This is boring.’

I acknowledges these comments, often by writing them down, and I think, ‘okay this may suck. This could be boring, but I’m going to keep writing anyway.’ And then I do.

Part of the reason I am so disciplined with writing is two-fold.

One, I’ve worked a lot of soul crushing job and I really want to make this current trajectory to work.

Two, I know the following statement to be all too true: ‘Resisting writing is harder than writing.’ Even on bad days, even on shit days, writing is always better than not writing (even if only for five minutes).

Of course, you don’t have to be saving the world with your writing all the time. Even superheroes deserve a break.

3 / Application of Feedback

I’m great at receiving feedback from betareaders and editors, but I didn’t realise this was a strength until my mentor pointed it out!

They said so many people will accept punctuation suggestions but then reject all the critical advice surrounding plot, structure, characterisation, and so on.

I am always open to feedback and while I’m aware that makes these changes will be work, I know they will lead to a better book/short story/article.

I don’t take the criticism personally because I work with smart and kind people who I trust so I know their feedback is coming from a good, informed place, and it’s often great fun to brainstorm potential solutions.

As life coach, Cheryl Richardson says, ‘Don’t go to the hardware store for milk!’ by which she means, be selective in whom you seek advice from. 

It’s so easy to only focus on our weakness as a writer, and this makes sense because awareness is the first step to improving that aspect of our craft, but it’s also important that we celebrate and acknowledge what we’re actually good at too.

Know I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, please share 1-3 of your writing superpowers. Remember, these can be related to mindset, behaviour, habits, or craft.


Access The Follow-Through Formula training video

Follow-through_ How to complete a long-term writing project (1)

Need help finishing that short story, novel, memoir? No problem. The Follow-Through Formula is a free video training which unpacks the five strategies you can use to go from idea to completed project.

To access, please join my email newsletter and you’ll receive a thank you email containing the link to the free video training.

You’ll also receive my weekly newsletter which is sent out every Thursday morning. This is where I share links to my latest blog and YouTube video as well as other inspiring goodies that I only share via email.

Taking Creative Risks

‘Sometimes I wish I’d been a little braver and jumped into the unknown.’

I was talking with a friend about the writing life and the unwelcoming reality of making a living as a writer and teacher during what is now the second economic crash of my lifetime.

It was Tuesday morning and we were sitting in a café I’d only discovered a few days before despite it being a ten-minute walk from my home and opened for over two years. The chai was creamy and spicy, and the older male waiter wore alarmingly short-shorts.

A few days earlier, four out of town friends came to visit, none are writers and only one is a reader.

The spooling conversations about food, travel (or lack thereof), music, climate change, health, changing careers, politics, our dogs, and retirement pried open my tunnel vision and reminded me that there is more going on in the world than my doctorate, my manuscripts, the course I am helping teach, and this blog.

It feels a little like waking up a train, only you can’t quiet remember how you got on it or where it’s going, but hey, you’ve been here for a while, so you figure you may as well ride it out to the end.

Plus, hopping off the train doesn’t mean you’ll step out onto a platform — it’s a scientific fact that you’ll topple off into the massive void of unknown.

When talking about decision making with another friend, she asks herself, ‘If not this, then what?’

Then what?

Then what?!

The void is a scary place. It’s unknown. Empty. It lacks certainty. There is no map or path. It’s living in a cardboard box. Losing all your money. Failure.

But it’s also possibility.

Staying on the comfortable train has its own perils. There’s the fear that you’ll hop off at the end having arrived at a wasteland; there’s nothing here for you (or anybody else).

You stayed comfortable and safe; you got your money’s worth and were rewarded with nothing.

There’s a Virginia Woolf essay where she talks about crossing Oxford and following in all the (male) footsteps that had gone before her and she worries how (and if) she has become complicit to that system, that process, that way of being.

So, do we hop off or stay in our seat?

Or perhaps, the even better and more gluttonous question is: can we do both?

Can you stay on the train and hop off into the void?

Can you keep your seat warm and jump off when the urge for adventure strikes? (Presumably while passing a particularly inspiring landscape).

The train and the adventure will be different for everybody, and both can change form.

Perhaps the train is a day job, and the adventure is starting a podcast, a novel, a new short story.

Perhaps the train is a novel, and the adventure is a part-time gig or saying yes to a work collaboration or opportunity.

Perhaps we need to find better ways to get out of the ‘this or that’ thinking, and instead find ways to ‘have it all’ – while also recognising cost-benefits, time and energy limitations, responsibilities etc.

Like The Fool from tarot, maybe we need to take a leap of faith. Step off the train and onto the terrains of unknown lands, trusting that we are capable, that we will not losing our footing, and that another carriage will eventual come by if need be.   

Removing ‘this or that’ thinking means that we can choose the bigger life.  



Follow-through_ How to complete a long-term writing project (1)


Need help finishing that short story, novel, memoir? No problem. The Follow-Through Formula is a free video training which unpacks the five strategies you can use to go from idea to completed project.

To access, click here to join my email newsletter and you’ll receive a thank you email containing the link to the free video training.

You’ll also receive my weekly newsletter which is sent out every Thursday morning. This is where I share links to my latest blog and YouTube video as well as other inspiring goodies that I only share via email.

How To Write A Manifesto

How To Create A Writing Manifesto

What is a manifesto?

A manifesto is a curation of succinct phrases that best represent your intentions, opinions and aspirations. Typically, they are presented in the form of a list. So, how would a writing manifesto differ from a list of writing rules?

Writing rules are practical. A writing manifesto is inspirational. A manifesto embodies your idealised view of the world, the vision you hold for the future and your core beliefs as they relate to creativity and craft. Though a manifesto may be created through a particular lens – creativity, business, health – these principles can often be applied to other areas of life.

How do you create one?

Creating a manifesto is easy, but if you’re looking for a little inspiration then check out the list of published manifesto included below.

You can write your manifesto whatever way you want to – it’s your manifesto after all. However, if you want to make your manifesto easy to remember I recommended that you make each principle as clear & succinct as possible. For example: “I always feel better after I have written so I will write every day whether I feel like it or not” could be rewritten as “Write every day” or “Inspiration follows action.”

A writing manifesto is a tailor constitution that reflects your unique understanding and experiences with the craft. The purpose of the manifesto is to inspire and ignite you – especially on days when you’re as excited as a wet sock. Once you’ve created your manifesto, it’s a good idea to hang it near your desk as a reminder of how and why you do this crazy thing called writing.

There’s a million way you can go about writing a manifesto, but here are a few easy questions to get you started:

I write because…

Writing makes me feel…

Writing means …

In order to write, I need to…

What’s the purpose of a manifesto?

Creating a manifesto can be a lot of fun and it’s a great way to inject a little creative and playfulness into your writing. And that’s a good thing especially if you suffer from any of the following:

  • perfectionism
  • rigidness
  • taking things too damn seriously

Given that this post is all about writing manifestos, I thought it was only fair that I share mine.

Writing Manifesto

  1. Inspiration follows action
  2. The story already exists, you just have to type it out
  3. Stories have their own logic and it’s your job to follow it
  4. Resisting writing is more painful than writing
  5. No one care if the house is clean but everyone cares if you’re happy and writing makes you happy
  6. Dreams don’t work unless you do
  7. Writing happens even when you’re not writing
  8. It’s easier to write every day than once in a while
  9. New ideas are delicate, keep them close to your chest
  10. Write one good sentence, then another, then another.