How Your Mindset Impacts Your Writing
For writing success prepare to challenge the fixed mindset
Have you ever thought about your evolution as a writer and whether you are operating from growth or fixed mindset?
Psychologist Carol Dweck researches and writes about mindset, specifically the fixed and growth mindsets, and I only just put together how these impact us as writers. You see, in a fixed mindset, you gravitate to easy, or what comes “naturally”. Which means we find the topics that are easiest for us to write about. Which is fine, you can write a lot about what is easy, but do you really grow your skills if you’re always doing the easiest type of writing?
Recently I applied to write for a new subject area — the history of women. The topic excites me, I’m a history buff and have thought for a long time that women and their place in history are underrepresented. But then a funny thing happened, after the initial research, I got stuck.
I’ve been working on the same piece of writing for 2 weeks. It’s not writer’s block per se, but rather a combination of over-the-top passion for the subject, a desire to do the story justice, and lastly a desire to ensure that it’s what the new publication I was accepted to write for wants.
So yes, in a way I am blocked. And what’s a block? Resistance.
Passion for a topic is terrific, it’s good energy, but it needs to be channeled into a useful and readable article. Otherwise, you run the risk of jumping from thought to thought and either losing the reader or leaving them with an incoherent piece.
Then there’s the portion about doing the story justice. Which is connected to passion, but upon further reflection it’s apparent that this is one part perfectionism and one part fear. And those are the hallmarks of a fixed mindset.
When you’re in that headspace, there’s a worry about how you look to others, because you fear looking unskilled and the embarrassment inherent in that.
I haven’t done an article like this before and so I’m in new waters. It’s about trying to find the right way of presenting the information so that the reader becomes interested and wants to know about this unique person. I worry that if I do it wrong…