When You’re Writing, Attitude is Everything by Lisa M. Evans, Ph.D.
Perhaps your mom was like my mom. Every once in a while she would say, “You’d better change that attitude of yours.” As a kid, I thought that was idiotic because I couldn’t “change” my attitude any more than I could change how old I was. However, life has taught me one’s attitude has a great impact upon any endeavor, and attitudes, indeed, can change. Here are 10 attitudes that I have adopted in order to fully experience what writing has to offer.
- Make writing a habit. My goal is to write at least 30 minutes a day; therefore, I plan for the time in my calendar. When I am intentional about my writing goal for each day, I am more likely to reach that goal.
- Treat writing as a process. We’ve been told over and over again that writing is a process. Well, it is. I actively use pre-writing, drafts, editing, and the other stages of writing to produce my best work.
- Acknowledge the inner critic. Every once in a while my mind will say something like, “You’re just a poser. No one cares what you have to say!” When this happens, I promptly thank my mind because our minds really want to evaluate and classify. It’s what they do best. Acknowledging the inner critic puts it to rest much faster than if I ignore it or argue with it.
- Separate composing from editing. This single attitude has changed the way I approach writing. I used to write one sentence then edit it. Writing was laborious and, frankly, miserable. Now that I separate the two functions, I am free to explore the content without worrying about sentence structure, word choice, and flow.
- Allow for failure. Gasp. Yes, I now make it okay to not write perfectly or every very well. This attitude frees me up to be uninspired while writing. I might write really poorly one day; however, I realize that writing, like most of life, is cyclical and my writing will improve. In addition, every writing session holds value, even if it is just for myself.
- Allow for success. Gasp? This sounds odd, but I have found myself fearing success more than I fear failure. By embracing success, I give myself permission to be amazing.
- Expect the unexpected. Because writing is creative, I occasionally generate insights that are truly surprising and inspiring. I revel in these moments as they make writing such an adventure and a pleasure.
- Emulate the best. I look to other writers to find ways to develop my own style. My favorites currently include Anne Lamott and Daphne Gray-Grant. When I find a format or style that I like, I try it out.
- Embrace feedback. I have learned to value the feedback I receive from others. I am often too close to the work to be truly objective. By inviting others to review my writing, I am able to use their expertise and insights in my own work.
- Keep learning. I consider learning to be one of the most critical aspects of writing. When I am engaged in new experiences, whether it is reading a new book, taking a class, or visiting a new country, I know that fresh writing will come from it.
Each day when I write, I test my attitudes. If I am having a block it is usually because I have forgotten to embrace one or more of these. Now think about your own practice. What attitudes do you bring to the writing table?
© Lisa M. Evans, Ed.D., has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario and can be reached at email@example.com
Keeping a positive attitude is critical. If you would like weekly doses of positivity you will want to access the Staying Positive in a Freaked-Out World. We are a positive bunch and would love for you to join us!