Why Does It Take So Long To Write A Book?

Writing a book takes a lot of time and effort. You don’t write a book overnight, let alone publish one and become an author in a day.

Whether you are writing a novel, self-help guide, travelogue or memoir, it can take months, years or even a lifetime to write a book. Depending on the nature of the narrative, some books take longer than others to write.

As a writer or author, you might feel frustrated, annoyed and discouraged at how long it’s taking you to write and get a book out there.

I’m in the midst of writing my first book. It’s a non-fiction collection of stories on growing up Asian Australian and navigating cultural and creative identities.

Last month I finished the first draft that I started ten years ago. Ten whole years. But it felt like a big accomplishment.

Notable authors have taken a while to write their books. J.D Salinger took a decade to publish his short novel The Catcher in the Rye. C.S Lewis also took a decade to write the children’s book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Susan Cain took seven years of researching and reflecting to create the non-fiction book Quiet, exploring the power of introversion.

There are distinct reasons why it can take so long to write a book. Some reasons are yours to blame both as a writer and person. Other reasons are out of your control. Here are some of these reasons.

1. Writing is hard

Writing a book is difficult because writing is infinite with endless possibilities. There are endless storylines to imagine, multiple characters to make realistic and numerous writing techniques to incorporate in your written work. There are so many different written styles and structures to play around with.

It can be overwhelming working out how you want to approach your book chapter to chapter and as a whole. As writer Meg Dowell says, coming up with trivial yet important things like names, locations and dates can take up a lot of your creative energy.

Also, like other art forms, writing is about creative expression. Writing a book often means articulating your deep thoughts or emotions, making you vulnerable for others to judge. Some writers find that uncomfortable.

2. Writing takes time

A good book takes time to flesh out. There’s outlining your book, writing your first draft and later editing your book with the right software.

It also takes time to be original in your storytelling since creativity comes and goes. Then there’s the publication process to figure out.

For a long time I was so undecided on themes I wanted to cover in my book. Should I write about racism more? Or should I write more on never feeling at home? What about introversion? Does it tie in with the purpose of my book? I struggled with wanting to say everything and later realised that less can be more. After all, short and crisp stories can make the best connections with your reader.

3. You lost the plot

You might read your first draft, hate it and start from scratch. Or you might leave your manuscript for a while, come back to edit it but the narrative doesn’t sound right to you.

Your perception of the world and people often changes over time. Chances are if you haven’t worked on your manuscript for a while, your story ideas and characters might not resonate with you anymore. So you take two steps back and rework and rewrite.

4. Step by step

Putting a book out there is a process and you have to juggle many hats. Writing a book, editing a book and publishing a book are separate things. You might be good at one but not the other.

There’s always something to learn about each step of being an author whether it’s your first book or tenth. It involves working with others, such as editors, publishers, designers, booksellers and promoters, waiting for others to get back to you. And it most certainly involves working with yourself as a writer, getting in touch with your voice and allowing your creativity to shine through your words.

5. Bad writing habits

Maybe you don’t have a writing routine or schedule to stay focused on making your book happen. Perhaps you’re writing at the wrong time of the day when you aren’t inspired. Perhaps you don’t have a comfortable writing corner.

One of my bad writing habits is being a perfectionist. While writing my book, I often got stuck in the loop of editing as I go. I backtracked the moment I didn’t like something I wrote, correcting the bit over and over until I was happy. Sometimes this made me feel less confident as a writer. Too many days I barely made progress.

6. Life gets in the way

Things happen in life, good and bad unexpected events that take priority over writing a book. Things happen to you and the people who matter to you, and sometimes writing a book seems the least important thing.

I momentarily fell off the writing bandwagon two years ago when the pandemic hit. It’s been a time where many concepts have been redefined, a time of segregation and lifestyle adjustments for many. This all made me question what’s important to me, and if working non-stop on my book in an exhausted state and selling a million copies would really make me happy.

And the answer is no, not entirely. Yes I love writing and it would be great to sell many books. However, enjoying writing without expectations, quiet time and the small sacrosanct moments with others who matter are also important, if not more important to me.

7. Writer’s block

Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing or working on your book. You don’t feel inspired. You feel your creative muse is nowhere to be found.

Maybe you want to do something other than writing. That’s okay because often you need to stand up to live before you can sit down to write.

*  *  *

The genre of your book can also be a factor in how long you’ll take to complete writing it. If you’re writing historical fiction or a self-help book for instance, you’d probably spend considerable time researching and pondering over that research before adopting respectful points of view in your manuscript. If you’re well-versed on the subject or story line and have published many books, maybe you’ll get your book out in no time.

Alongside genre and the other factors mentioned, the length of time to write a book can vary depending on word count. The longer the word count, the more time you may spend on refining a longer manuscript. Children’s author Hannah Holt conducted a survey with 76 published middle grade authors in 2017. This survey found these middle grade authors took four or more years to publish their first book. It also found 50% of them wrote more than six drafts before their manuscripts were accepted for publication, and sold more books when they signed with a big publisher.

Many writers have a strong passion for words and love playing with language. You don’t write for the sake of writing or write for the sake of putting a book out there. As a writer, you write for the love of writing, with your own why and towards a bigger aim, even if it means taking a while. Words speak to you and you hope your words and books speak to others.

Writing creative non-fiction is my kind of writing. In most of my writing and upcoming book, I present observations of cultural nuances through a medley of factual and literary techniques.

When I write, it’s not just a matter of stating my points one by one on say, why racism needs to stop or why you should embrace being a quiet Asian introvert. When I write, often I go into a trance-like state of mind, reaching for stories from around and within – words showing rather than just telling, writing with feeling.

There are tips which you can take as a writer to finish your book sooner rather than later. For example, adopt good writing habits and stick to them. Have a clear outline and vision of your book at the start to maintain your focus. Find a writer’s support group online or offline for some like-minded company, getting insight on the writing process and publication.

I’ve read my first draft and am happy with how my book is progressing. It is a big accomplishment. Next it’s time to go back to the start: lots to re-read, work with, whittle down and refine to something much more beyond than words just for me, crafting stories for others and eternity.

Writing a book takes time and thought. While writing a book is frustrating, annoying and discouraging, it’s also exhilarating, satisfying and humbling, ultimately a journey of becoming a better writer.

How long did it take you to write a book? Have you thought about writing a book (or more)?

204 thoughts on “Why Does It Take So Long To Write A Book?

  1. I admire you so much, Mabel, for your commitment to writing your book. I hope it’s the first of many. I have pondered writing something in the past, especially after encouragement from friends. Alas, even the process of beginning an outline feels too much to bear.

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  2. A good read, Mabel! I hope you will finish your book and are happy with the result. No doubt it will be compelling. I finished my novel this year, and published it myself, after many years of reading, researching, writing, re-writing, cursing, mental breakdowns and even suicide. Well, no, it was not that dramatic. But a lot of work it was! My writing habit was: I must at least write two pages a day, or in my case night. Three is cool, four even cooler but at least two. It took me about four hours a day to do so, every day, inspiration or not. I didn’t edit my writings until the first draft was finished. Then I started editing, wich took me about half a year. Sweet friends plowed through that edit, and with their comments in mind I re-edited the edit. Another half a year. At some point I found it finished. One has to know when to stop. The joy of having your book in hand, smell and feel the paper filled with your words and thoughts is very satisfying! Of course you want it to be read and liked, but the sole fact that it excists can not be taken away. In the mean time your non-fiction book deserves to be read. The topic is interesting and makes me want to know more. Please keep us updated!

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    • Thank you for the thoughtful and reflective comment, Peter. That is amazing you finished your novel this year after years of hard work. Congratulations. You should be proud of yourself. Writing a book is certainly a lot of work, and yes, it can certainly include mental breakdowns along the way. And maybe also throwing your hands up in the air a lot.

      It sounded like a very realistic writing target you had, a couple of pages each night. It’s these kinds of small habits that build up to make your book happen. You don’t see the finish line until you get there. It must have been one of the greatest feelings ever to hold your book in your hand. I hope to get there soon – but at the same time, I’m not rushing the process.

      I will keep you updated on my book. Hope you get to write another book at some point if you are up for it 🙂

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  3. Congrats on sticking with the writing over so many years! It’s definitely a long and painful process, haha. But I’ve been enjoying your blog posts and I’m certain you have a lot of great stories to tell – I’m sure this book will be wonderful.

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    • Thanks for the encouragement and for reading my blog posts, Leanne. It has been a long process indeed. I feel my writing and how I tell my stories have evolved over the years – and I’m at a point where I’m comfortable with my craft. Hope you are doing well.

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  4. I have not written a book in decades; the last time I wrote a full-length novel (i.e. 100+ pages) was when I was perhaps 10 years old, and it was in the fantasy genre (I loved fantasy books when I was a kid). It took me perhaps a few weeks to a couple of months to complete it, although I will say that it was far from being a New York Times bestseller, haha. I’ve since moved away from writing full-length novels, as I don’t have the patience and dedication cut out for it: I’ve found my writing style is more about writing in spurts, and preferably to complete the project in one sitting. Hence why I’m more into poetry and prose, as well as blog posts. I commend you for your dedication to writing a book, Mabel, and I wish the best of luck to you!

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    • Writing a full length novel is a fantastic achievement when you were so young! Good to hear you have found a writing style that works for you these days. Sounds like you are very dedicated when you find the inspiration to write, especially in one sitting. I rarely write in one sitting as I tend to get distracted by what’s outside of the window or will go get a snack 😄 Thank you so much, Rebecca. I hope to finish writing my book soon, or at some point 😊

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  5. Tha’s wonderful news to hear you are writing a book Mabel. Reaching the first draft is a great achievement and something to be proud of. I enjoyed this article about writing and it reminded me of many good writing habits. I enjoy writing on my blog and have sometimes challenged myself to post something every day for a month. I should write more blog articles, then assemble them into some kind of book.

    Looking forward to being able to buy your book – i want hard copy so you can sign it for me!

    Best wishes from Charles in Sydney

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    • Thank you for reading and for your encouragement. You have a good idea going there, write some blog posts and assemble them into a book. Having writing habits and writing consistently helps you make progress over time – and you realise you’ve come far.

      Happy to sign a copy of my book for you, Charlies. I’ll post one out to you when the time comes. Take care.

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    • Yes, our book is certainly still worth pursuing. I think self-publishing is a great idea, and I will be self-publishing my own book. So excited to get back into writing our book. Hope you are well, Amanda. Happy summer 😊

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  6. Keep writing Mabel! It is not easy to write a book, but it is not that hard either. Look at all the books that have been written, especially in more recent years when technology has enabled us to publish books much faster than say 25 years ago.

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    • I admire you, Hien. You have written your book the Village Teacher and it is a great effort from you. Agree that technology has enabled us to publish books much faster. Anyone can publish a book when they are ready. Keep writing.

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  7. So true, all of this. I spend years researching, rewriting, and revising.
    I try and explain to non-writers that working on a novel requires time and space. It’s like a tapestry–if you snip one thread near the top, a piece will unravel near the bottom. Holding the whole story in your head as you revise isn’t easy, especially when real life involves intruding kids, pets, or partners. A lot of moms wind up switching to writing shorter pieces.

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  8. I can relate to all these points because I have seen my better half write a book, recently. It was a laborious process. Sometimes, one wants to write for hours (when in the right frame of mind) in another instance, writing a few lines is a challenge. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your book, Mabel. I’m so happy to hear about you writing a book. All the best, Mabel. 🙂

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  9. Mabel, congratulations on a massive achievement! The first draft of a novel is a huge feat and your clear insight into your writing and writing habits are eloquently described and gives us a clearer understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses. An excellent article which is presented beautifully as always! Personally, I’ve found #6 the trickest to navigate whilst writing seriously – ‘Things happen in life, good and bad unexpected events that take priority over writing a book.’ In the end, I think it is a matter of never stopping believing in oneself, taking on board advice, seeing what works best and never giving up! All the best with the edits and I look forward to learning more about your novel! Take care, xx

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    • Thank you so much, Annika. A first draft is a milestone and I thought it would be apt to reflect on my writing journey so far. It’s funny how external things in life often considerably impact how much we write, especially if you are writing a book for the love of it and not tied to a deadline or actually book contract. In the end, writing a book on your own is no short of marvellous, magical feat.

      Agree that never stopping is what will get us over the line to finishing a book. No matter how hard it gets, keep going bit by bit and before you know it, you will have something to work with for a book. I hope to share more of my book here next year. Already have some excepts in mind. You take care too, Annika 🙂

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  10. Very thorough post, Mabel. You’ve hit all the reasons it takes so long. I’ve experienced almost all of these obstacles, too. Writing is an art. It is, as you say, a passion for language and it does take time to hone it and get a manuscript to where you are satisfied it is your best work. Congratulations on finishing your first draft!! That is a big accomplishment. I look forward to reading the comments here as it is such an interesting topic.

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Lisa. And so kind of you to read the comments as well. I am sure everyone here appreciates you. So true, writing is an art. Your writing is your art, your voice and that takes time to hone and make it your own. I am looking forward to editing and redrafting, and hope to write about the publication process at some point (which I haven’t found too many people discussing). Take care, Lisa 😊

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        • I am excited about the publishing process and at the same time wondering about the challenges that comes with it. But first, editing. Also a topic I can write about. Have a good week, Lisa 🙂

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  11. An interesting post Mabel! Writing is such a personal journey and writing a novel or non-fiction is very different from writing and publishing poetry, which is what I do. I enjoy working with editors on poetry journals and anthologies and it was just as rewarding to work with an editor on my full poetry collections. Part of the publishing journey is the ability to work with others and be open to constructive and professional feedback. There are many good people out there who can help you get your book in the best possible shape and I wish you the best of luck on this next part of your journey 💚

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    • Writing is indeed a personal journey. You are amazing to have written and published poetry, Xenia. Lovely to hear you got to work with editors along the way and you found it rewarding. Sometimes editors and others can see ans suggest things that take your writing even further, and make you grow as a writer. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am excited to edit and then look into the publishing process ❤

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  12. I am glad you’ve finished your first draft Mabel. There are all kinds of writers and you are the most meticulous one! Obviously it would take you longer to put your work in the hands of your readers. I agree with all the obstacles you had to cross before reaching your goal. I know it must be a rewarding experience. Wishing you all the best for the final draft.

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    • Thank you for your support and your kind words, Balroop. Sometimes I think I am too meticulous. Then again, there’s so much to get right to make a good book. I don’t think it will take another ten years to redraft and re-edit. Hoping to get the book out sooner rather than later…but at the same time not rushing the process 😊

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  13. It took me about 7 years to write my first book but I did write copious notes while living in Egypt that I could refer to. Currently I have two drafts of potential new books but I have lost the muse. It will return but what’s the rush (for me). Congratulations on getting to this stage, Mabel, and I think the book’s contents are prescient and appealing.

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  14. Congratulations on finishing your first draft my friend that is truly an amazing achievement. It took me so long to write my trilogy starting from when I was 17 to now at 32. It am glad I took my time with it. It was a journey I had to go on. All the best to you and your Journey. I cannot wait to see you x

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    • I am so proud of you to have written a trilogy my friend! You have come a long way, and looking forward to your next chapter as a writer. It is always worth taking as long as you need to write. Miss you my friend ❤

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  15. I’m right there with you, Mabel! I’m not sure exactly how long I have been writing my fictional novel, but it has been years. My first and second drafts are done, and I have had two readers give me comments on draft #2. Now I am deciding if I want to totally change the story or make some smaller edits and move forward. I DREAD the marketing and publicity parts, so I think I am dragging my feet to avoid the next step … ugh. Congratulations to you on finishing that all-important first draft! You seem like a super hard worker, so I know you will keep the progress going as you continue toward publication. Good luck!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. That is amazing you have been plugging away at writing your novel, Lex. Sounds like you’re quite far into the process – editing is a milestone in itself. I too dread the marketing and publicity part of putting my book out there. I did a lot of thinking about it, and realised for me, there is no need to go out with that part…I can simply release a book out there without much fanfare. Good luck with finishing your novel too. You will get there, probably sooner than me 😄

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  16. Hi Mabel! What a thoughtful essay on book-writing. And, congratulations on completing your first book, that is huge! I’m excited for you, and also inspired. Wonderful!
    I like that you said you go into a trance-like state, at times. I’ve been learning to meditate over the last couple of years, and I’m finally getting more writing fluidity, being less subject to those critical voices, but I’ll say that “It takes time” is a very thoughtful and observant statement. I’ve been starting to ask my work what it would like to be, rather than dictating to it (plotting, etc.). It’s been quite lovely and satisfying! I always enjoy your work. And the stories in your book are going to be very important for understanding more about racism and intolerance. Thank you for bringing your writing mind to this! 🙂

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    • It is so lovely to see you back here in the blog space, Theresa. Thank you for stopping by and your nice words. That is great you are taking a more intuitive approach to your writing. It’s one thing to write logically another to write fluidly as you put it, and the latter can be hard to explain to others who don’t get artistically creatives types. May you find many more inspiring moments taking the intuitive, inner approach to your writing.

      Editing my book will be interesting. I hope to make my stories on racism and cultural tolerance engaging. Thank you for reading 😊

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  17. Congrats on getting that first draft done! Writing a book can be easy or difficult depending on so many factors, as you mentioned here. The first one was about 7 years, most of which was carrying it around wondering what was the ending, and what to do with it. Then, it was a great rush to get out there and I regret the rushing it, but I did it. I changed covers – like 3 times, too, and had to go back and fix edits, again and again. Ah, well.

    The second one’s on hold until I have time and sanity again. Too busy, but with the holidays around the corner, I hope to get back into it. Although, it’s tough with non-fiction because you change and you create your own way as life unfolds… Good luck and enjoy the process, xo

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  18. Congratulations on finishing your first draft. It’s a huge accomplishment when you’re already working a full-time job. My advice is firstly, to read your draft aloud. That way, when you stumble, you’ll know something isn’t right. I do this all the time and it’s a helpful strategy. Secondly, find a critique group and share your work. I cannot impress on you enough, how this helped me improve as a writer. Perhaps I was lucky to find an excellent group consisting of beginning writers to those already published, so I received a lot of support. I have a few more tips on my readandwrite.blog right here on wordpress if you’re interested.

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    • Thank you for reading and for your suggestions, Mallee. That is such a good idea, to read my draft aloud. I’ve practised and read out speeches and presentations before, so definitely I can do that with my draft. It’s good you received great support from like-minded writers. Hope you still have their support. I have followed your writing blog and will check it out soon. Thanks again.

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  19. Congratulations on finishing your first draft! That’s the most important part I think. Keep believing in it. I’m sure it’s good.

    This is an excellent article. You made so many good points I don’t know where to begin. My first novel took about ten years. Even the research took a long time. When I started, there was very little in books or on the internet about Xiamen during the Sino-Japanese War. I scoured libraries and book stores. My second novel took about the same time because I didn’t have a clear idea about it in the beginning. And yes, I lost the plot for a time. After a book is finished, the next steps are just as hard, and for some of us, everything about the process of getting it published and then sold is new and not nearly as pleasant as writing.

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    • Thank you very much, Nicki. Those are some wise words from you, ‘Keep believing in it’. So true. If you keep believing, you can go the distance.

      It sounded like you spent ten insightful years researching and writing your book. A lot of the inf ormation you were seeking probably is hard to find, and you only find it if you go looking for it. Well done. Publishing and selling your book is indeed just as hard, and maybe I’ll write about it at some point.

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  20. I’ll add another reason–you have to learn to write. For me, that took 25 years to pop the first book out and then I was ready to write more. I’m looking forward to your first effort, Mabel. I haven’t read that topic, well, ever.

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    • That is a good one, ‘you have to learn to write’. There is so much to learn to write about, from writing a certain genre, to honing a specific writing technique. Thanks, Jacqui. I hope to get my first book out there soon. Now that I’ve done the first draft, I feel so excited about what’s to come 😊

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  21. Congratulation on your first draft, Mabel! Seriously, it is a huge accomplishment. I can write some texts for photo books, but writing a whole book is a different thing. It takes a lot of time and effort. Best of luck with your next steps 🙂

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  22. What an informative, well-written post to benefit all writers, Mabel. And Congratulations on finishing your first draft. That is a huge accomplishment. I found myself nodding in agreement when you wrote about editing while writing. I do the same thing, and it definitely slows me down. I’ve published two poetry books years ago, but by most recent book that was published in September of this year, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, took me about two years to finish, simply because of life getting in the way. All good, though. This book is a memoir, and after turning sixty this year, I had so many stories to tell that I hoped others could resonate with or find some comfort. It felt good to sprint through that finish line, arms waving in the air! And it’s available on Amazon. 🙂 But the journey is also important: enjoying the organization, the research if necessary, the creativity, and the memories in my case. Good luck in your journey and I look forward to seeing the finished product.
    ~Lauren 💗

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    • What a lovely, encouraging comment, Lauren. Hoping it won’t take too long for my book to be edited and get published. I am feeling the book writing passion very strongly at the moment.

      That is amazing you’ve published poetry books year ago and this year published another book. Well done to you. It sounds like it was quite a journey writing your memoir and in the end, you really just had to keep going to get it finished. I hope to check out your published writing at some point 🙂 Keep writing, Lauren. It’s worth the journey.

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  23. I see this as an absolute win for you. Maybe some years in the future there might be a VR blogger (or whatever it is they call this by then) who will write “Notable authors have taken awhile to write their books. Critically acclaimed Asian Australian author Mabel Kwong took 10 years to put together her first draft and the rest is history…”

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    • Now, you just wrote quite a snappy punchline. It sounds too good to be true. A very small absolute win for now. Who knows if the book will see the light of day… I mean, I will work at it, but being critically acclaimed, doubt that will ever happen 😄

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  24. It’s taken me plenty of time to write each one of my books! And, that’s quite alright in my book. You’ve made some great points here, Mabel. Delighted to hear that your book will be coming out soon. It sounds terrific. Congratulaions! ✨

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  25. I’m so excited you’ve completed the first draft of your book and look forward to reading it, Mabel. Who is your target audience? Are you writing for children or adults? I think children would love to read about your experiences – I’m thinking middle-grade here, but maybe it’s the adults you wish to target. We could all do with learning from you.
    Best wishes with your revisions and rewrites. May the editing all go smoothly to publication.

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  26. Some good points here. So true in #1 about how writing has infinite possibilities. When I first sit down and look at that blank page on the screen I think, where do I begin?

    I understand getting stuck editing as you write. I did that way too much. Little tip about that, I finally just wrote everything out off the top of my head (with my current WIP). It was terribly written. From there I had a lot of work to fix it, but at least I could edit from the beginning and not keep stopping to go back. I’m almost finished editing now, after what seems like the zillionth time.

    My first book was a series of memoir short stories (creative nonfiction) about growing up Italian-American in suburban Chicago (USA). Sounds similar to what you did. I added a touch of humor.

    Congratulations on finishing your book. Good luck with the edits.

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    • Yes, that feeling when you sit down and look at a blank page, and wonder what on earth do you write. It can be such an intimidating feeling. You just have to start typing to get going.

      I love the sound of your first book about growing up Italian-American, and hope to check it out. Well done on publishing a book – and a memoir too, which can be very personal. It sounds your current WIP is coming along nicely and soon you’ll probably be on to the publishing part. Good luck with that, Lori 😊

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  27. Mabel, I am so proud of you for sticking to this project of writing a book. I know in my heart I do not have what it takes. When I hold a hard copy book in my hands, I feel so much respect for the author never knowing how much work he or she put into it. Some books after I finish them I wish they would never end. I love to read and to have dedicated writers in this world like you I have the utmost respect for. Please let us know when your book is published for I will buy one for my library. You bring a lot of good points into focus in this post, some I really never gave any thought to. I know when I write a post it usually like you describe is through a trance like state with words just flowing through my fingers. But for a book? My heart just is not pulling me in that direction. Congratulations on all the hard work you have done thus far on your book. YAY!!

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    • Thank you very much dear Amy. A book is a lot of work, and it takes so much time to get the end. It’s what I love doing, and writing speaks to me – so I think I will finish this book, and write more. You are so kind to respect writers and I will sign a copy of my book for you when the time arrives. Writing a book may not be up your alley, but photography certainly is what you are amazing at. It doesn’t surprise me that you have a following because of it, and because of your messages too. You keep doing photography from your heart and let Mother speak to you and guide you. Much love and light ❤

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      • I have “visions” of where I “think” I am going in the future, and yes photography is a big part of it. For now, I do what my heart guides me to do each and every day. The “noise” has been so loud here in the States that I’ve had difficulty connecting and hearing but getting out into a quiet Forest will remedy that. Much Love and Light to you. Keep shining!!! xoxoxoxo

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        • You will go far with your photography, Amy, I just know it. Every post, every photo you choose to share with us is mind-blowing and comes from such a deep place you have worked so hard to connect with. Keep listening to yourself. Lots of Love and Light 💖

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  28. Yes, I’ve thought about it. Made a rough start on a book of Dad’s life, but it was too personal and there was too much of the story I didn’t know and didn’t want to poke around and find out. The old blog covers most of what I do know. A travel and me style book? Also possible but I’m not so good at the networking and working with others, Mabel. I’d never manage publication. And sometimes, yes, life really does get in the way. Maybe I’m better at just living it.

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  29. You’ve always written helpful posts on many issues. Writing: this is one that I know I struggle with too.
    I begin to write for my book then get distracted with blogs I read or challenges I want to participate in.
    I know I will get to the end one day but it’s nice to know that others struggle to get to the finish line too.
    Great post, Mabel. I wish you the best as you continue towards your finish line with your book.
    All the Best,
    Isadora 😎

    Like

    • So agree that there are so many distractions and blogging and blog challenges are some of them. Sometimes I feel it’s so much easier to write a blog post and visit blogs than write a book 😄 I hope you have a lot of fun with blogging and the challenges. You will get to the end of writing your book at some point as you are a great writer. Thank you for the encouragement. Wishing you all the best with your book, Isadora ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Good to be hear reading your fine words again Mabel..
    And you bring us some good tips on the perils and the patience it takes in writing…
    Loved your stack of journals… Like wise I have a cupboard full of thoughts, jotted down poems, dreams, thoughts..
    And maybe about 5 years ago I set off writing a book… To weave a story and include some of my poems..
    It still sits in a zipped folder… Maybe I will pick up that urge to finish it… So I can relate to the long time lapse it may take ..
    I am so happy to read you have your first draft done and dusted… Congratulations Mabel..
    I am sure there are many gems of wisdom that you have weaved within it..

    Sending thoughts your way my friend.. Love and well wishes Mabel.. ❤

    Like

    • Thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement, Sue. It is always lovely to see and chat with you. Writing is easy, but it can also be hard. Either way, it takes time to write a book.

      That is amazing you started writing a book some time ago. That excites me. You must have some wise words, timeless gems in your manuscript as you always share with us on your blog. With time, and with the right moment, your book will see the light 😊

      Hoping to start editing my book draft shortly. Very excited for this new chapter of the book writing process. Sending lots of love and hugs across the miles, Sue ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exciting times upon the start of your editing.. I hear it can be the major work of any book…
        If my own book ever gets completed Mabel then it will, when its meant to be… For now it sits, as an idea, born, yet to be birthed into the light when guided to do so…

        For now there are so many things I want to say, yet how to form the words so others can comprehend them…

        But the words will come when ready… We just trust the flow… 🙂
        Much love right back ❤

        Like

        • Indeed, editing is a major work of any book, fiction or non-fiction. When done right and you’re open to criticism, you see your writing in a whole new light. I read my first draft… I don’t hate it, that’s a start. Lots to work with.

          An idea is already a powerful thing and feeling. Should it be meant to be, the light will guide you and your work forwards. It can be hard to say what you want to say – you can’t find the right words, and people are sensitive or easily hurt by certain opinions. At the end of the way, we all want to mean well.

          Yes, trust the flow, Sue. Much love to you and hope your week is going well ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Trusting the Flow Mabel… Hold fast.. This month should see some major changes Down Under.. Some tough, but all with a brighter future in mind… I am hearing good things about Australia One Party… Lots there I feel will put people power number one..
            Sending Huge Hugs and Much love dear friend… And Yes.. The Light will Guide.. ❤

            Like

            • Ever since the eclipses last month, there has been much change here Down Under, and many conflicting sentiments. It’s a time where we’ve all got to pull through together. Agree, trust the flow, hold fast and move forward. The Light will Shine and Guide all the way. Much love to you too and most importantly, stay safe ❤

              Like

  31. congrats on finishing the first full draft of your book! appreciate this thoughtful list of reasons about what makes writing a book so difficult. I used to feel slightly bad about not really actually wanting to write a book because multiple people always said I’d be good at it and such, however I’ve come to accept I want to accomplish other things with my life and that’s okay (: I hope the revision/publishing process goes well for you as well as your future writing generally, whether it’s for a book or not!

    Like

    • Thanks, Thomas. It feels surreal to have finished the first draft. I’m excited about the editing process. Lots of work ahead. Writing a book is something I’m really enjoying, so I don’t mind the work. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t want to write a book Thomas, and good that you know what you want to accomplish in life. If you’re good at something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. Keep doing what you like doing.

      I hope to write more books in the future. Maybe collaborate with others on books too 😊

      Like

  32. I have sometimes thought of writing a book. It has always remained an idea in the shadow of other things. Personally, I have some thought about how I would approach the subject.

    1. The subject of the story, must be crystal clean.
    2. People, appearance, hobbies, interests, thoughts, clothes. Etc.
    3. The plot of the book, its progression.
    4. Describing the events, who says. It is me who tells and how I see things. Then the other gives his own view, thinking, hesitating, adding to his thoughts, arguing. This way helps to get a different perspective. Arousing the reader to doubt the reality of things for example. Making sure that the side characters in the plot are not too pale but are part of the whole, complementing it. Making sure the plot has not gone astray. If this has happened, the reader may not know about what this is about.
    5. Surprising twists and turns.
    6. Astonishing the reader with quick surprises.
    7. Describing the details. However, not too much, because the reader sees in his own way.
    8. Checking from time to time that the above has been fulfilled.
    9. Correction of sentence structures and errors.
    10. Looking for alternatives to the words, giving color to the text.
    11, ETC.

    I’ve been thinking about writing Sci-Fi and the plot is mostly clear in my head.
    I love your post. It is wonderful and shares thoughts. Congratulations to your book. Thank you. Matti

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your reflective reply, Matti. You make important points to keep in mind when writing a book. So agree that the subject of the book and story needs to be crystal clean. That sets the expectation for the reader and it can make the difference between picking up your book and reading it all the way, and not picking it up or finish reading at all. I really like your point about arousing the reader to doubt the reality of things, to question and keep guessing where your story may lead or question things in the real world. Surprises and twist and turns is a good way to keep the reader engaged and to keep on reading.

      It sounds like you are very keen on writing Sci-Fi. Maybe you should write a book on that, and if you do, please let me know as I would like to read it. Wishing you well into the year ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Congratulations on completing your first draft, Mabel. Various friends and family members have said to me, “You really should write a book.” It sounds so simple when said like that, but I’m sure they have no idea what it entails and how much time and effort is required to do so. I wish you well with your book and am sure that with your determination and organizational skills, you’ll succeed. Your blog posts are always a joy to read. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Sylvia. That is so true. There is so much that goes into writing a book, even starting is quite an effort 😄 Nevertheless, I am joining your family and friends and suggesting to you, ‘You really should write a book.’ You never know, Sylvia. Maybe one day you will write a book 😀 Best wishes for the year ahead and take care.

      Liked by 2 people

  34. Hi Mabel
    Congrats on the first draft!
    The “step by step” section reminded me of how some authors we know have so much help where they wrote a draft and then others take over!

    And the perks of self publishing are many- but sometimes it means a writer does have to switch gears and love from being the content creator to then serve as editor and publisher and marketer – whew
    Also, I guess it depends on the content and what the goal of the book is!
    It sounds like you have your niche area connected in your book (things like culture and social improvement – also, living with zest and growing ) and so it seems that type of content – related to memoir – will also require more time because of the personal connection and the choosing of what to include .
    One of the worse books I read was on a trip to Florida – it was called “just walk across the room” by bill hybels – I mention it now because as I read it – it seemed like he wrote it in a weekend and then his editors fixed all the typos (later Bill Hybels name came up in the # metoo movement – so I wonder if that connected to the shallowness in the book. Either way – I was expecting a little substance and it seemed like it was not there – and so my point?? Not all books are the same and your post did a great job at addressing the reasons why it can take a long time!

    This year I published “staying alive”
    Which is a book with 54 of my flash fiction entries (out of more than 200) that i wrote with three different writing groups.
    And I thought selecting and arranging the entries would be the longest part –
    But that was super quick. Instead,
    The editing and formatting sucked up time and that surprised me.
    I finally got it on Amazon and I am pleased with how it came out- but it was surprising how what I thought would take time –
    Did not –
    -/
    Anyhow – congrats and again and look forward to connecting more soon

    Like

    • Thanks, Y, for your kind words and encouragement as always. There is so many step when it comes to writing and editing a book. Writing and publishing each book is different, and how you go about it depends on what book you are writing – as you said, what depends on the content and goal of the book. It’s always good to have a goal for your book and visit that goal time and time again to remind yourself why you are putting in the effort so as to keep on track.

      I do feel my writing is within a niche area, though I think I can narrow it down further. I guess eventually that’s where others come in and help with the editing and publishing process. The hardest part of a book being a memoir or anecdotal is what to share and what not to share. Sometimes there are something you really want to keep private though it may make for rivetting content.

      Sometimes you really do read books that are a let down, and you do wonder if it was rushed or callously written, or had a poor editing process, lacked direction or completely missed the point of what the message was.

      Congratulations on publishing ‘Staying Alive’. It sounded like a flash fiction book that came together originally and with its own time. It must have been hard to whittle all the entries down from 200…so many to choose from – and seemed like you learned so much from the later stages of getting it out there. I hope to check it out and get some ideas from you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Yay! Congrats to you Mabel on your first book. Brilliant article. Yes, And sometimes the revisions and editing take longer that it can to write a book! I wish you much success! Holiday hugs xx

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  36. I have not written any book nor do I plan to. What is your book about?
    I just heard from my oldest niece she will have a 2nd rom com book published in 2022. She has 2 other new self-published novels to release next yr.

    Methinks she’s pumped out over 10 novels. Rom-com writing includes tropes and other things. Her thing is interracial love….she is half-Chinese.

    Like

    • My book will be about my experiences as an Asian Australian, and also about finding the drive to be creative. That is amazing your niece will be publishing her second rom com book shortly. What a great effort and it sounds like she knows her writing and craft very well.

      I think you have it in you to write a book, Jean. After all, you wrote a lot about being Asian Australian and shared that in your previous posts. You never know, maybe some day you will write a book.

      Like

  37. Hi Mabel, this is such an engaging post! Congrats on finishing your first draft – what a feeling that must be. I’m fascinated by the topic, and I’m sure there will be so many other people who can relate to living in an unfamiliar culture. I know that when James and I lived in Africa we were humbled by what we didn’t know about the world. It was one of the best experiences of our lives. I can’t wait to hear more about your book. Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with book success! ~Terri

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Terri. It was such a great feeling finishing my first book draft. Now I’m onto the editing stage and working through that. It sounds like you and James had a lot of fun in Africa, learning to be a part of an unfamiliar culture – which has its challenges but always enlightening in the end. Wishing you and James a wonderful year ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. I can’t even tell you the number of times that people have said to me that they could write a book too after I tell them I’ve published two… I know they don’t mean it as an insult but it is in a way as it DOES take so long to write, edit and publish one! Great analysis here Mabel of the intricacies of writing. You are a superb writer. It’s nice to connect again. All the best to you and your family in the New Year!

    Like

    • Thanks, Christy. It’s easy to say you can write a book but in reality can really take a long time and it often isn’t easy. Hats off to you for publishing two books. Maybe you will publish many more books in the future 🙂 Wishing you all the best to you and your family this year ❤

      Like

  39. Congratulations! Time doesn’t matter. You took ten years? So what? You made it.
    Writing is close to Nirvaña for me. 😉 I generally write the story in my head. Whether it’s a short story or a novel. (Even dialogues). When it’s done I sit down and write. It avoids me going through the writer’s block.
    Never published. I had a very bad experience with literary agents in New York. Bunch of arrogant parasites… Never went into self-publishing either. I might try it…
    The main problem is distribution. So many books out there.
    When you find a good agent or publisher, do tell me… 😉

    Like

    • Thank you. That’s so true. Time doesn’t matter. It’s the journey that matters in the end. It’s been a lot of work writing the book…but at the end of the first draft I realised I wanted to have more fun and less pressure with it 🙂

      You have quite an imagination, and it sounds like you have a book in your head. Maybe one day it will see the light of day. You never know.

      Ahhh, literary agents and publishers. They can have their own agenda and have their own idea of how your book should be published. Self-publishing seems the appealing option to me. Let’s see how this plays out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Hi Mabel, Congratulations on your first draft. I am continually impressed by writers and their accomplishments. Excellent post on the challenges and pitfalls of being a writer. I hope that the year ahead is fruitful and brings much success and happiness to you. 🙂

    Like

  41. I really appreciated this article, Mabel. Thank you. It is extremely practical with all excellent points. I have thought about writing an environmental book that revolves around the Monarch Ultra. I have thought about it for 2 years. Nothing started, though I have written articles on it. The thought of writing a book is extremely daunting. In my opinion much tougher than training for and completing a big ultra.

    It is good to know that some authors such as C.S. Lewis took a decade to write that 1st book. The thing with an environmental book is that I would need to be as current and up to date as possible. The earth’s climate and diversity is changing exponentially. What the earth was like 10 years ago is completely outdated to what the earth is like today. That’s a hurtle that I am not sure how to overcome. I may end up just continuing to be a blogger…lol.

    You have such a wealth of life experiences of being of Asian descent living in Australia. You are a great writer and I know your book will be inspiring and break down barriers. My daughter in New Zealand is engaged to the most wonderful Chinese fellow. So caring and such a strong provider. I am very proud of both of them. 😀

    Like

    • Thank you so much for reading and thoughtfully reflecting, Carl. And for your kind words. That is amazing writing an environmental book crossed your mind, and you’ve written articles on the topic. Indeed, writing a book can be daunting. The more I wrote my book, the more possible it seemed – and I realised there are so many kinds of books. You can write a fictional book, a book of how-tos or a collection of stories. Maybe one day your articles will spin off into a book 🙂

      An environmental book is such an interesting topic. You could approach it from different angles. Like you said, it probably needs current, factual information. Writing about your thoughts and obversations from the past or a moment in time (such as how you observed your environmental surroundings during a marathon combined with facts) could also work.

      That is wonderful your daughter is engaged to a wonderful person in New Zealand. You are all very luck to have each other. And sometimes that is what matters the most 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome, Mabel. Thank you for your insightful comment in return. This is some excellent food for thought, Mabel. In regards with observations, in my own lifetime I grew up before single use plastics. Milk and pop came in returnable bottles. There was no such thing as fast food. Styrofoam was introduced which was replaced by plastics. Styrofoam is still around, but not to the same extent. I also remember when there wasn’t nearly as many toxic chemicals like there is now.

        I am thinking it would be tough having a theme and keep that theme flow throughout the entire book.

        Like

        • It sounds like a much more calmer time back in those days, Carl. And great memories too. I remember seeing styrofoam packing around when I was a kid and they do keep food safe and warm. These days, yes, it’s plastic food containers everywhere.

          Sounds like a lot of food for thought for a book. Maybe a shorter book could work for you, breaking down environmental observations and impacts bit by bit – leaving room for more books in the future. You already write so articulately about running and our surroundings on your blog. Keep up the good work 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  42. Reading this post made me feel elated (congratulations on finishing up the first draft to your book, what a tremendous accomplishment) and it also made me feel exhausted/frustrated because there are so many frustrating issues when it comes to putting pen to paper 🙂 You cover the list of issues one can have, and from my experience any one of these is enough to discourage so having to deal with all of these (and more I’m guessing) over the past ten years is a great sign of belief in both yourself and your story. It is beautiful to read you over the past years and a bit exciting to hear you’ve made such an accomplishment.

    You make a point at the end of the post which I admire greatly: “… refine to something much more beyond than words just for me, crafting stories for others and eternity.” You’ve laid yourself out there in writing and to be able to craft your writing into a book is not just rare but also noble in the sense you’ve given so much time in doing it and it will find an audience. A bit thrilling for you 🙂 Great post, and this is an exciting way to begin the year, Mabel. Wonderful and congratulations again. Wishing you and your family well and take care ~

    Like

    • It is always wonderful to here your musings, Randall. You are so right in that it can be frustrating putting pen to paper (even typing out words on screen can be difficult). One thing that is challenging with writing or with any kind of craft can be such a discouraging setback. It’s important to remember we all have conscious choice to learn, change direction and move forward. I think many writers, musicians, actors and artists we admire often have these traits, such as how with musicians they tend to put out different versions of their music over time – and mostly take their time.

      I think after ten years doing this book draft, I definitely feel a sense of belief – belief over a sense of relief and if I were feeling the latter, writing is probably not for me 😛 I think an audience will come to me in due time. Finding an audience is an in-depth topic in itself. Maybe I will write a blog post on that at some point. Meantime, it really is thrilling now and moving forward, seeing where writing will take me. Thank you for your well wishes. Wishing you and your family all the best this year 🙂

      Like

      • It is balance between elation of putting thoughts down on a piece of paper and then the frustration of re-reading and finding it not quite capturing the meaning you wish to re-tell 🙂 And I think you are very correct that with artists it is part of the process. Finding how the voice, music, writing, is constantly changing and this is part of the evolution and the magic when you have created something you’re at peace with.

        Look forward to reading more of your work, and yes while there is always the need of an artist to be heard (to find an audience), the greatest achievement is putting yourself and your work out there in the first place ~ something you should be extremely proud about. Cheers to your current and future successes 🙂

        Like

        • You captured the elation and dilemma of writing so well, Randall. Maybe you should write a book yourself some day 🙂 There are many frustrating times with writing and making works of art, but in the end when you get there it’s such a great feeling.

          Thanks for the well wishes. Greatest achievement comes from within. Take care, Randall.

          Like

  43. Congrats on embarking on the route to be an author, Mabel! Hope to see your book in the bookstores here =)

    I can’t remember how long it took me to write a book, but it was around 2 – 3 years to get the first draft done. Hated what I wrote and spent another 1 year rewriting the entire thing (urgh, I don’t know what possessed me to do that). Tried to send my manuscript to one of the local Australian publishers, but it didn’t work out in the end.

    And I haven’t written a book ever since. I’m finding it arduous to sit down and even attempt to start a second manuscript because of time and the lack of creative juices.

    Like

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement, Ciana. I would love my book to be in bookstores in Malaysia, Singapore Australia and around the world…but I think that’s wishful thinking for now 😄

      That is such a good effort drafting a book and rewriting it. Even though publishing didn’t work out, it’s a big achievement – and you got very far in the first place to write a book. Maybe one day you will write a book again…but so agree with you the process can be so arduous!

      Like

      • Well, I guess we won’t know until it happens, Mabel. 😅

        I don’t know; sometimes I wonder whether it’s even normal to rewrite the entire manuscript. For the current moment, I’ve shelved all plans to write a book. We’ll see what happens in the future; maybe I’ll stumble upon something worthy for me to pick up the pen again? XD

        Like

        • I do think it’s normal to rewrite an entire manuscript…and even start again from scratch which is such an effort. I feel this way for some chapters of my book as I’m editing it 😄 Maybe at some point you will finish your book or write something completely new and it will turn into a book 😊

          Liked by 1 person

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