Mindset–what is it and is it really important? Do you ever just stop at times and think about what your mindset looks like? Is it a healthy helpful part of you or does it hold you back or tear you down?
Are you like a whole lot of others who don’t even think about things like that? But if you are a writer who doesn’t give yourself pen privileges very often (if ever), it is beneficial for you to take a look at this.
Before you can even begin to improve your writing skills in any way, there is one major hurtle to overcome. That is simply the fact that you have to start writing. Your choice is either to continue avoiding the whole situation or put some things in place to get the words flowing out of you. So, what’s it going to be for you?
It happens every year about this time. Talking heads everywhere start lecturing about how New Year’s resolutions set just brief weeks ago are fallen to the wayside once again by now.
It’s not that I disagree with that concept. In fact, I agree with it largely due to my own experiences in the past with making my own resolutions. Now, a resolution might work out fine in a legal document, but it has proven to be far less effective in bringing desired change and results to my life! So, what’s up with that whole thing?
Mindset versus Resolution
If you want to learn the technical differences between mindset and resolution, I invite you to pick up any dictionary or good ol’ Google to sort out full definitions. As always, there is no lack of information available on the subject.
In terms of writers, I tend to make this basic distinction between the two. Resolution is a decision made to move toward a certain desired goal by means of certain, often specific, actions taken consistently over time. Mindset is the commitment, plan, support, and response controls set in place for the purpose of accomplishing that desired end result.
A resolution is bound to fail on its own because it is inadequate within itself. It’s an item from your wishlist. But how will you ever get it done without creating a proper atmosphere for doing it? That is where the mindset comes into such dynamic play.
Mindset – The Difference Between Success & Failure
You’re no doubt familiar with the saying, If you want something you’ve never had before you have to do something you’ve never done before. This and variations of it have been misattributed to Thomas Jefferson. I’m not sure who said it first; I’m just glad someone did because it is so true.
It is quite true to the person who wants to write. So, you come up with the idea to write this year. You start out great, putting pen to paper or clicking keys. And sure enough, words come forth! You are writing!
The writer’s bliss only lasts so long, though, before life happens. Your day is too busy. Writing is moved out further and further into your day. Night falls and bedtime comes without a word escaping from your thoughts onto paper or screen.
Your guilt says, I’ll do double tomorrow. Or maybe your rationalizing mind–you know, that part that tries to justify everything to soothe your conscience–comes up with, It won’t kill me to miss one day. It may not seem like it at the time, but you are in the process of kissing your writing idea goodbye.
1. Mindset Is about Decision
Your mindset is meant to be the strong foundation upon which you build your goals and desires. If you want to write, take the time to build a strong mindset that will keep you motivated, activated, empowered, and encouraged along the way. By doing this, you dramatically increase your likelihood of success.
Part of the decision making process is about embracing change. Are you stuck in a mindset that doesn’t really work for you? What happens when your commitment is challenged or your schedule presses in on your writing?
Open yourself to new experiences. Do what you think you can’t do. It’s okay to change your mind, your perceptions, and your beliefs about yourself, your writing, about anything.
Without a proactive mindset working on your behalf, the sad truth is you will stop. Pressures and distractions large and small will wipe out your fresh start every time.
But creating that valuable mindset always begins with a decision to do something you’ve possibly never done in order to gain something you’ve never had.
2. Mindset Is about Expansion
As a writer actually writing and getting somewhere, you need a plan. I’ve talked about that a lot in various posts; check out this one. Yes, you have to set a doable goal, one that is tied to time and a schedule. Anything less and you’re just kidding yourself.
Expansion is all about you actually making direction, time, and space for your writing. (Can you see how this differs from the mere New Year’s resolution made just because the calendar rolls around a new number?) Without this important element, your writing will likely fall victim to not knowing what to do next, running out of time to write, and having no place to do your actual writing.
So, this brings you to the point of honoring the writer within by letting go of the self-limiting thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and ideas you hold about yourself and your writing. Place enough value on your own writing and the daily time and space will appear.
It’s a guarantee. Take the effort to prepare yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally to write daily and you will write daily. You go from just thinking about it to sitting down and doing it. Yes, this is deeper than just saying, I’m going to write this year.
3. Mindset Is about Commitment
Commitment is a big word and some of you get a little squeamish whenever it comes up in conversation! That’s okay, but part of decision making and expansion is commitment.
What are you committing to exactly? This needs to be clarified in order to move from a mere resolution into a mindset.
In a proactive writer’s mindset, you commit to yourself. You honor yourself, the message you carry, and the person who will receive that message. Commitment is how you take your place and become real, so to speak.
Once commitment is made, give it your highest esteem. These days, we don’t use the word honor very much, but it is valid to do so.
In the past I underwent leadership training from various professional groups. Most of them brought me to a place of commitment. And when that commitment is ultimately made, I was taught to make a monument of sorts, a marker to remind me of that commitment I made.
That marker for some of you is a simple picture of yourself at that point of commitment. Put the date on it and save it where you can see it easily all the time. For others, it is a simple “contract” with yourself written out, signed, and dated. Print it and post it where you see it regularly.
There are many other ways to remind yourself of your commitment. Find one that speaks to you and put it in place. Commitment is imperative to getting real about your writing. Resist the temptation to gloss over this. It is a strong part of your “writer’s insurance policy”–your writer’s mindset.
4. Mindset Is about Flexibility
One of the things I see happen to New Year’s resolutions is the crumbling away of the initial concept. What does that mean? It’s pretty simple.
You make the decision to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That feels good, and is a great start to the new you! Great!
Monday came and you showed up and did your thing. You gave yourself a pat on the back, and rightly so. Then Wednesday, then Friday, and the first week went great. The first two or three weeks were a rinse and repeat of this. Life is good!
However, the next week is here. Monday dawns cloudy and cold on the heels of a night’s poor sleep. The bed is too warm and cozy to get out of, and you sleep in. Now, you’re late and barely get to work on time. The day goes badly like some Mondays do. You feel bad about not getting up and going to the gym, but you console yourself by saying you’ll stop by on your way home from work.
You know the rest of the story. The day goes downhill and you don’t get to leave until later than usual. Now you’re tired, stressed, hungry, and it’s still cold and dark outside. The gym is the last place you want to go.
That’s where the justification comes into play and you tell yourself as you head home, Missing one day won’t matter.” At that point, without a proactive mindset, you just lost the battle. Defeat is eminent.
With a proactive mindset in place, when that day comes that does not readily lend itself to following through on your planned action, the outcome is quite different. You made decisions and came up with a plan and goals. You expanded your outlook and possibilities. You chose honor at every level, and you made a strong commitment that you marked.
Therefore, your results are different. Because of your mindset, you chose to deny yourself those extra minutes of bed warmth, rolled out, and went on to the gym first thing. Or you made yourself go to the gym after work even though you were tired, hungry, and frustrated. That proactive mindset is a strong force working on your behalf!
Set yourself up for writing success. Life does happen, and you know that it does. Therefore, when circumstances arise that alter your original plan for the day, be flexible. Be willing and be quick to come up with an alternative plan that will still accomplish what you wanted before the end of the day.
5. Mindset Is about Follow-through
If you are like me, I like to do things when I’m comfortable doing them. With comfortable surroundings doing things I am familiar with–that’s my definition of easy!
However, the real world, mine included, seldom works like that. Every day you face the uncomfortable and the inconvenient. You get tired, busy, and out of sorts. That’s the nature of daily life.
Following through with your writing decision and commitment means that you determine to do that daily writing without regard to the circumstances around you. You find the way to write every single day.
Your mind and body sometimes want to make you believe that dire consequences come when you force them to do something they don’t want to do. And when you commit to something that is a daily occurance like writing 500 words daily, you will meet with resistance from within yourself.
Be ready for it. Expect it. And decide to just do it. Write even if you’re uncomfortable. Let those words come when it’s convenient or inconvenient. Write when you’re tired. Carve out time to write when you feel like you’re too busy.
The truth is, all those feelings and issues are always subject to change. They are temporary. Let your circumstances speak to you as you write. They can actually help bring out some deep qualities through your writing. You express differently in different moods and feelings. That is not a bad thing.
The point is, follow through with your writing commitment. Go back to your commitment marker and honor that point where you openly agreed with yourself that this is what I’m going to do.
Mindset Is Everything
In conclusion, your writer’s mindset will make or break you in your writing endeavors. Writing is not always an easy process. It is simple, but it is not always easy. Words don’t always flow like a river. Time and circumstances aren’t always perfectly attuned to what your writing requires.
That is the beauty and power of a proactive mindset under you, supporting you and keeping you in tune with your desires and your commitment. When it comes to your writing, do you want something you have never had before? Are you willing to do what you have never done before in order to get there?
I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors in this new year. There is never a better time than now to set yourself up for writing success. By success I don’t mean financial success, although that can be part of it eventually. Rather, I mean success in that you are writing daily and honoring the stories and messages within your own heart. If you don’t write it, who will?
Hopefully this spoke to you as you read. As always, I am available to help you through my full array of writing and coaching services. Contact me now!
Thank you & God Bless!
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