Write Your Book Faster With 3 Thoughts!

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Welcome to the very first episode of Your Words Unleashed Podcast! I’m so excited to be here with you, sharing everything I know as a book author, writing coach, and publishing strategist.

Today I’ll walk you through how your thoughts about writing can either help speed your manuscript along or slow you way down. I’ll also introduce you to some empowering beliefs that will help you produce quality writing with greater ease and satisfaction.

But before we get into that, I’d like to share a bit about my story and the reasons why I decided to create a podcast to help women scholars like you who want to write and publish your first book.

We academics know the power of research and how it can transform the ways people think and behave. By now you’ve likely invested years into your project, and your ideas are ready to be unleashed into the world.

You truly deserve to be a powerful agent of social change.

But you might be swamped with so much work and extra personal commitments that it can feel downright impossible to carve out the time and mental energy you need to write your manuscript, let alone to fully enjoy your life.

I started this podcast because I’ve been there! A little bit about me: I’m a sociologist and feminist ethnographer who has published two books with university presses.

My first book, Outsourced Children: Orphanage Care and Adoption in Globalizing China, was published by Stanford University Press in 2016 and came out of my dissertation.

Although publishing it was a happy event, by the time it came out I was utterly exhausted from writing it, which I can only describe as an incredibly drawn-out, frustrating, and isolating experience.

As a first-time author fresh out of grad school, I was clueless about the publishing world and plagued by self-doubt and perfectionism. Due to fears of being judged, as well as having to uproot my life three times in three years for different professional positions, I held onto my manuscript for much longer than necessary.

And, looking back, what was even worse was that, down deep, I believed I had to sacrifice my own personal happiness to get it all done.

For my second book, Chasing the American Dream in China: Chinese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland, which was published by Rutgers University Press in 2021, I vowed to do things very differently.

So I applied lessons that I learned the first time around and didn’t put the rest of my life on hold while I was working on the project.

In fact, over the course of writing my manuscript I received tenure, completed a 9-month-long life coaching certification program, got married, and had a baby.

Now, this wasn’t a super simple or linear path, but ironically because I was doing so many things that meant a lot to me personally, my writing also felt more intentional. In the end, I enjoyed a much smoother process that led to fairly quick publication with a press that worked hard to meet all of my needs. 

Over the course of my career, I’ve seen too many deserving scholars, especially women of color and first-generation folks, not attain professional opportunities or get tenure because they weren’t able to get their book out.

Not only does the academy and future generations of students lose out on their unique talents and abilities, but their groundbreaking ideas also never find an audience. I want to change all that!

Writing your first book is no easy feat, in part because it’s a huge undertaking that you’ve never accomplished before AND because there is no centralized place to find out the information you need to publish your manuscript once you’ve written it.

The world of academic book publishing can be opaque and difficult-to-navigate. The lack of useful information gathered in one place means that everyone must learn through trial and error. But I’m a strong believer in not reinventing the wheel!

If you’re anything like I was at the beginning, you’ve spent many frustrating hours reading through different university press websites or asking friends, mentors, and colleagues for their advice about publishing.

You’ve probably also found that their advice tends to conflict and their paths to publication wildly differ from one another. This forces people to figure out the process on their own, and if you don’t have the time, energy, or resources to do so, it’s easy to give up your dream entirely.

My hope is that this podcast will serve as a hub of helpful information, practical advice, and useful strategies for first-time academic authors. My other goal is to help you find ways to write your book with more ease and joy, and that these good feelings will spill over into the rest of your life as well.

Through my experiences as an author and a writing coach, I’ve learned that there are two equally important parts to creating a successful, enjoyable book writing process.

The first part is what we all tend to focus the most on, which is developing good strategies and systems to maintain focus and consistency in our writing. This podcast is going to delve into many different ways to manage your time better and to boost productivity and motivation, so don’t you worry.

But what I want to draw attention to in this inaugural episode is a really integral, but often-neglected, part of the writing process, and that is our thoughts and beliefs about our writing and ourselves as writers.

The point I want to make here is that you can do all the right things, stay incredibly busy, and still not manage to publish your book if you don’t truly believe that you have a ridiculously important message for the world to hear.

What I am talking about here is mindset.

To put it another way, your mindset is what will make book writing feel like either a fascinating, inspired journey or an exhausting, never-ending marathon.

In my own case, writing my first book felt like a burden and was an endless source of anxiety because I was so fixated on my own insecurities. With my second book, I treated writing as an expression of my own curiosity and creativity.

I told the stories I wanted to tell and allowed myself to play with the process of discovery and creating new knowledge. But in order to accomplish this, I actually had to think different, more empowering thoughts than I did the first time.

Of course, this was easier for me to do since the stakes did not seem as high, but I now see that my mindset was the main thing holding me back earlier in all aspects of my career.

So, if you are like I used to be and find yourself working to the point of burn out, spinning in overwhelm and frustration, and/or avoiding your writing altogether because it’s become something you dread, I encourage you to develop something I call “writing producing beliefs.”

These are empowering thoughts that, if you fully embody them and take actions from this place, you will experience more flow, freedom, and satisfaction when you write. You will be able to express your ideas more confidently rather than always second-guessing yourself or feeling compelled to do more and more and more reading.

When you write from a place of confidence, the more quality material you will produce and the better you will feel. And the better you feel, the more you will want to write, and so on, until you have eventually written a full manuscript!

There are many valuable writing producing beliefs. However, I would like to offer three that can have immediate positive effects.

#1: Writing is as simple as breathing.

#2: Presses can’t wait to publish my book.

#3: My ideas will have world-changing impact.

These are BIG beliefs! Now, before you come up with a million reasons why it’s impossible for you to think these things, I’d like you to try saying them out loud. Just try!

#1: Writing is as simple as breathing.

#2: Presses can’t wait to publish my book.

#3: My ideas will have world-changing impact.

Notice how your body reacts. Did something inside of you relax a little? Do you feel more expansive? Next, allow yourself to consider what might happen if these things actually were true.

What if writing did come to you just as naturally as breathing? What if multiple top-tier presses couldn’t wait to get ahold of your manuscript?

What if the world needed your ideas to start transforming for the better?

What would you do differently? What actions would you take? Feel free to jot down your ideas.

You can also do an experiment and compare this to how you feel when you are consumed by the far more common self-defeating thoughts that run through our minds when we write.

These could include things like: “You don’t have anything worthwhile to say.” “Other people are so much smarter, work so much faster, or are so much more productive than you.” “Your book could have been published already if you managed your time better.”

Or my favorite (because it used to be one of my mantras), “Writing is so hard, and I hate it!”

Whether these beliefs exist on a conscious or subconscious level, they keep you small and prevent you from releasing your ideas into the world.

They are so demotivating and disruptive that some authors give up their writing dreams altogether.

So, the next time these thoughts arise, pay attention to how they make you feel and the actions you take as a result. Even if you do manage to continue writing, I would bet money that it is not fun and takes you twice as long to accomplish anything.

The trick to tapping into the magic of writing producing beliefs is being consistent in thinking and implementing them (and if there are others that resonate with you more, use those instead).

But to take full effect, they need to become second nature because you can’t expect anything to change if you only think them once. Research suggests that practices take at least 21 days to become habits.

So, I challenge you to add “think writing producing beliefs” to your to-do list for the next three weeks. If you begin each of your writing sessions this way, you may be amazed at how much better you feel and what you are able to achieve.

Remember that you have the power to choose your beliefs about writing and yourself as an author.

Although book writing is challenging in so many different ways, approaching this process with an empowered mindset will allow you to handle all the obstacles with more grace and resilience.

See for yourself what new possibilities emerge when you fully embrace your greatness as a writer!

I hope you’ve found this episode useful. This is just the first of many to come.