Lessons (Re)Learned from Writing My Second Book (Part 2)

October 7, 2013

Three months ago I wrote an article called 7 Lessons (Re)Learned From Writing My Second Book (Part 1)*. At the time I thought that the next installment would come at the end of my writing process.

However, I am inspired to offer some additional insights now, even though I am still in the midst of this book emerging into form on the page.

Having consciously chosen to give it the time and space it needs alongside honouring all of my other commitments, this is evidence of the first lesson of the original article: allow more time than you think to write your book – then double it!

With that said, here are three more reminders about actions that truly make a difference to book writing success:

1. Put Your Writing “First”

This may not be the first time you’ve heard this recommendation, but are you actually doing it? So many writers know intellectually about the importance of prioritizing writing yet, for a multitude of reasons, don’t manage to put it into practice on a regular basis.

My own discoveries around this have revealed that the principle of putting writing first can be applied in a number of different ways. I used to think, for example, that I needed to write as my very first project of the day (after my early morning practices and breakfast), and wouldn’t be able to write with the same degree of depth in the afternoon or evening.

Experience has qualified this for me.  I have realized that deep writing also flows for me if I make writing the first project of the afternoon, especially following a lunch time walk. So my suggestion for you is to be creative with how you organize your writing time and find your own way of putting your writing “first”.

2.  Free Your Mind from Everyday Matters

Removing yourself from distractions in order to focus on your writing makes good sense. Turning off (or not turning on) email, internet and social media connections, and silencing your phone will all support you to bring your whole self to your writing.

Even if you are someone who prefers to write while immersed in the buzz of a well-chosen public place, the most important aspect of this reminder is to ensure that your mind is clear of everything apart from your writing topic. Internal distractions in the form of mental and emotional chatter will interrupt your creative flow.

There are many ways to create inner space prior to writing. When you have a lot on your mind, clear the way by writing in your journal first, sit quietly for a few minutes and focus on your breathing to anchor your mind, and only then begin to write.

3. Create a Series of Conscious Actions to Transition into Writing Mode

Many experienced authors have developed writing rituals that they perform every time they write. From simple ideas such as taking a few moments of stillness as described above through to more elaborate methods for transitioning into writing mode, the reality is that this approach works.

One of the main reasons is that taking specific action(s) prior to writing creates an association between the action(s) and writing. This signifies to your unconscious mind that it is time to write, and with each repetition, the association is reinforced so the transition becomes easier and faster.

The Conscious Writing process, which involves a series of conscious actions including a short visualization, is an example of how successful this principle can be. One writer who uses the process every time she writes following attending a live workshop earlier this year has completed the first draft of her 75,000 word book in just a few short months!

Whatever choices you make about your own transition into writing mode, remember the value of having something to trigger the shift from identification with your everyday self to connection with your deep self, and write from there. Enjoy!

Q4U: What are your favourite ways to begin your writing sessions? What have you learnt about showing up to write regularly? Share your experience with your fellow Conscious Writers below.

* Read the first article here http://www.iaccw.com/blog/?p=2177

© Julia McCutchen 2013. All Rights Reserved.

If you want to use this article in your ezine or on your website I’d be happy for you to do so as long as you use the complete article, including the copyright line, and include the following paragraph in its entirety:

Julia McCutchen is an author, conscious writing coach, intuitive mentor, and the founder & creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW). A former publisher of books on spiritual and personal development, Julia teaches conscious creativity, conscious writing and a holistic approach to writing for publication that combines the inner journey of creative self-discovery with the practical steps required for writing and publishing books. She is the author of The Writer’s Journey: From Inspiration to Publication. For FREE Membership and resources for writers, visit www.iaccw.com.


  1. Two things that help me:

    1) putting on some music appropriate to my writing theme. At the moment I’m working on a book based in medieval Spain, so I have music from the middle ages (especially Jewish/Arabic) to help me get in the mood. I even have a troubadour costume from the period but I haven’t started writing in that yet…

    2) going to a café where (hopefully) I won’t be recognised – it’s not that I’m famous, but I live in Totnes where everybody seems to know everybody else!

    good luck!

    Comment by Jon Stein — October 10, 2013

  2. Hi Jon

    Thanx for sharing what helps you get into the right mindset for your writing.

    Listening to music that is appropriate to your writing theme is an excellent idea. The troubadour costume sounds like fun, and if not for the writing, perhaps when it comes to do a bookshop reading once your book is published!

    Let us know how it goes in due course.


    Comment by Julia — October 31, 2013

  3. I can just imagine a troubadour costume fitting in with the Totnes crowd! We held our first (very small) booksigning there last year. 🙂

    Music is something which seems to settle me *and* help me to tune the outside world out, instead tuning me into the words and emotions that want to flow onto the page or screen. For our first novel, I listened to one album exclusively, and now listening to that music takes me right back into the scenes in that novel, and into the whole emotional feel of the book.

    I’ve also learned that I am more likely to write if I am in the middle of an ongoing project. If I’m writing something much smaller – flash fiction or a short story – I tend to need a “prompt” (photo or title usually work well). Even if I take a detour from the original idea, at least it began the writing flow! 😉

    Thanks, as always, for your articles, Julia. You can see how far behind I am with emails and blogs/newsletters… 😉

    Comment by Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) — February 25, 2014

  4. Hello Joanna – what a lovely image! Thank you for your contributions to the topic.

    Music is a popular creative trigger and once you have an association with a certain piece of music – like your first novel – it will always take you right back into that space which is one of the aspects of music I love to play with too.

    No problem being “far behind” with blogs/newsletters – it’s just wonderful that you came to this in your own time and found something of interest in the moment that you read it. Of course, it’s all Now anyway 🙂

    Comment by Julia — March 14, 2014

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