I'm a writer, but I can't do that... yet. How Writers Can Overcome a Fixed Mindset.
As a new year approaches, we start gaining momentum again for all the things we want to do better, accomplish more of, be stronger at, etc. So, let's talk a bit about growth mindset and where that can take you -- an indie writer -- as you plan for next year.
First, I usually end my blog posts with my favorite, relatable quote. This time I'm going to start the post with it, because if you really give it thought... roll it around in your mind... the impact is significant and relatable to the theme of this post.
"Instead of the power of yet, we are gripped by the tyranny of now." - Carol Dweck
Translated, it means we're so focused on what we can't do now, that we're not considering perhaps we just can't do it yet.
Not yet doesn't mean not forever.
There isn't a magical process for changing mindset. There's one step, and it is simple: Just realize that you can't do [something] yet -- but you will -- and you open up a world of possibilities for yourself.
Let's cover a few of the most common fixed mindset challenges in the writing community and how you can work toward overcoming them with the simple "yet" mindset, shall we?
Fixed Mindset Challenge #1: I can't write fast... yet
Oooh, this one was a big issue for me and still is, in a lot of ways, what with the pressure of writing to market and rapid releases in the indie author community. There were several moments -- days, months, a year even -- at the beginning of my writing journey where I was wholly convinced I would never be able to write fast. Ever. But as my publish-time gap reduced with each book I wrote, the proof that I was incredibly wrong was right there in front of me. When I began, I simply couldn't write fast... yet. But with so many writing apps and websites designed to help with speed and a couple of excellent books on the topic, I surprised myself, jumping from 200 words per hour to 1000 words per hour over the course of a month.
Oh, and by the way, this can mean both typing fast and storytelling fast. Both of which can be improved with practice.
Can't write fast? I believe you. But you'll be able to write faster the more you do it.You just can't do it yet.
Fixed Mindset Challenge #2: I don't know how to structure or outline a story... yet.
Okay, two challenges in and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I'm clearly talking about myself at this point. Four books written and I'm still not entirely sure I'm structuring my stories right. What I do know with certainty, however, is that I have gotten better at it with each book. And, for book five -- which happens to be the first book in my Daughter of Perdition series -- I'm feeling really good about this one. This is the one where I get it right.
And outlining? Raise your hand if you're scared of that word **rasies hand** Or, rather, I was scared of that word, because I could understand -- much less implement it -- yet.
Heck, maybe you're not ready for this step [yet]. That's okay, too. The point here is that everything comes in due time if you want it bad enough. I was ready to take off my pants, so I started outlining. Only after two years and four books, though.
Fixed Mindset Challenge #3: Ugh, I'm not a clean writer... yet
Okay, so maybe you've got the fast writing down (I'm jealous)... but almost to a fault. Your manuscript is a hot mess by the time you're through with it and rereading and editing is downright debilitating. This is where doubt likes to linger. The "this is horrible," "I can't write," and "maybe I should just start over."
No no no no! Those are all fixed-mindset ways of thinking. Fixed mindset does not serve a purpose in what you're trying to achieve in your writing career.
Have you figured out what I'm going to say to you... yet? <--- See what I did there? Ha. I can assure you that with every manuscript, you're going to get better at the mechanics of writing. This, in turn, might slow you down a bit at first (and you'll be back at challenge #1) but you WILL get better. Each time, you'll learn a new trick or rule that will bring your next manuscript to a higher level of cleanliness.
There are also great programs and resources like ProWriting Aid to aid in such endeavors.
Fixed Mindset Challenge #4: I have no idea what to do after I've written my novel... yet.
**Cue maniacal laughter** And you thought writing was the toughest challenge of all! What comes after often puts manuscripts under the proverbial bed for the rest of time and all eternity. The steps it takes to introduce your manuscript to the world is so so so incredibly daunting. And what makes it even harder, is that the process is variable; there isn't necessarily one right or wrong way to tackle it.
Thank goodness for the Internet, right? Now that's not saying spending every waking hour researching is exactly something to be thankful for, but the fact that we have thousands of resources at our fingertips certainly is.
How bad do you want this, fellow indie author? I know you don't know how to publish your book yet... but I also know that with a little due diligence you'll get there. And then the next book you publish will be that much easier.
Fixed Mindset Challenge #5: I don't have the knowledge or skills to market my novel... yet.
This one is a doozy, and probably one of the number one obstacles for authors who are finished with the writing and editing process and have decided to publish. Cover design, teaser graphics, social media engagement... it's enough to make your mind spin. Not to mention at this point you've just gotten "done," with everything, right?
Yeah... no. If you want people to see your book, there's more. A lot more. And the promotional and marketing aspect is not everyone's cup of tea.
But, once again, everyone starts somewhere. Maybe by simply creating basic graphics in Canva, scheduling takeovers in popular genre-specific Facebook groups, and creating accounts on the main social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
Start small, then build on your promotional campaigning as it becomes more and more familiar to you.
I hope this article helps you in some small -- or big -- way. Next time you're frustrated or a new learning curve seems too difficult to accomplish, remind yourself that you just can't do it yet. But you will. With practice, patience, and determination.
Happy writing and working!