Some random thoughts I often find rattling around in my head go like this...
What are you, stupid?
Me: Dang, I wish I could write better prose . . . this scene sucks.
Lizard Brain: Maybe if you had more talent, Loser. Hey, what makes you think you’re a writer anyway? No wonder you can’t get a date . . .
As you can tell, I’ve been thinking about Mindset lately and how to develop a healthy one for achieving my writing goals. Carol Dweck discusses the psychology of the Growth Mindset (healthy) versus the Fixed Mindset (unhealthy) in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and I encourage you to give that a read or find a Ted talk on the subject. But what I’m most interested in is how to develop a successful writer’s mindset beyond the “set a schedule and stick to it” thing.
I started with what I wanted to achieve as a writer. Here’s my list:
I don’t claim any of this as original thinking. I mean, look at those. That’s the Olympic tag of better, stronger, faster, isn’t it?
Never mind, those goals will get me closer to my million words and ten novels, at which point I'll have developed a few skills.
Now, a fixed or limited mindset – expressed so well by the Lizard Brain – would say we’re born with only so much creative talent and you get what you get. A growth mindset says nuts to that, and views every project, every writing task as a critical step in the process of becoming the writer you want to be.
A writer with a fixed mindset will tell herself “My first draft sucks. I can’t write. Better take up yoga or something.”
A writer with a growth mindset will tell herself, “My first draft sucks. But the last part of my novel flows way better than the first, and I learned a lot about the importance of planning and plotting my scenes. So sure, it sucks, but I’ve got something to work with and learn from.”
Which one are you?
Hi, I'm David. I write science fiction from a Christian worldview that promotes hope. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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