Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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De-Stress Your Writing Life: Writing a Personalized Pep Talk

Title artwork for De-Stress Your Writing Life

This year I’m blogging my book De-Stress Your Writing Life. You can read it for free on Creativity’s Workshop every Friday. In today’s post we continue the chapter Taking Control of Your Mindset. You can read the first two parts of the chapter here and here.

Write a Personalized Pep Talk

We all love a positive, inspiring pep talk. Seeing as this chapter is about taking control of your mindset, let’s look at how you can create a personalized pep talk to motivate yourself whenever you need!

The four steps to create this pep talk are:

  • Step 1 – Identify your biggest problem.
  • Step 2 – Decide what you need to hear.
  • Step 3 – Write your pep talk.
  • Step 4 – Refer to your pep talk regularly.

Identifying Your Biggest Problem

For a pep talk to truly motivate you, it needs to address a fear or barrier you’re currently facing in your writing. It needs to take a negative thought process that plagues you and turn it into a positive, inspirational mindset that propels you into your writing.

Look back over the previous chapter where we discussed fears and barriers you might be facing. Do any of the symptoms listed feel familiar to you? Decide which fear or barrier causes you the most trouble.

Once you’ve identified your biggest problem, you’re ready for the next step!

Decide What You Need to Hear

Before you start writing your pep talk, think about what emotional needs are going unfulfilled at the moment. Are you waiting for permission to start? Are you looking for direction in your project? Are you feeling uncomfortable or disappointed about your writing?

Take another look at the emotional needs listed in this chapter and see which resonate with you. (See Part 1 and Part 2 of the chapter.)

As yourself:

  • What do I need to hear?
  • What do I wish someone would say to me?
  • What are some of my favorite quotes?
  • What would be the most inspiring/comforting thing I could be told right now?

Note down your answers to these questions so you can incorporate them into your pep talk.

Write Your Pep Talk

Now that you’ve identified what your pep talk needs to address, you can start writing it using this outline:

  • Acknowledge the situation. Right at the beginning, acknowledge the fear or barrier you’re trying to overcome. Clearly describe the difficulties you’re facing, including the thoughts and emotions you’re battling with. Before you can change your mindset and feel more positive about the situation, you need to feel understood.
  • Present a different way of looking at the situation. Here is where you use the answers from step two and form them into a logical, inspirational whole. Use quotes, word pictures and exciting phrases. Capture your imagination and describe success in vivid detail.
  • Finish with a flourish. Use your last paragraph or sentence to summarize your pep talk. What you read last will be remembered first so keep it punchy.

Would you like to see that outline in action? Here’s a sample pep talk using the steps above.

Yes, the white page looks scary. It seems there are so many possibilities and as soon as I start writing I’ve committed to a fixed path.

What if it’s wrong? What if the idea doesn’t work?

But stop and think: What if it’s right? What if it does work?

The blank page holds no possibilities. It’s just a blank page. I hold the possibilities. My words hold the possibilities.

Beatrix Potter once said, “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

My words are not set in stone. They can be changed, deleted and retyped whenever I want. They can lead me to new ideas, characters, places and plots.

My words never have to be perfect. They just have to be.

Now it’s your turn. Imagine you are your future-self writing to your current-self. Say what you need to hear.

Refer to Your Pep Talk Regularly

While the act of writing yourself a pep talk can be very cathartic, it will be most effective if you refer to it regularly, especially just before you start writing.

You might try:

  • Printing it out on good quality paper and sticking it to your wall.
  • Making it into an image to use for your computer desktop.
  • Recording yourself reading it so you can play it back when you need a boost.

Do whatever you have to do in order to keep those encouraging words in front of you. After all, you went to a lot of trouble to write just what you needed to hear.

Completing a pep talk isn’t the end of the story though. It’s just part of keeping your balance as a writer. Next week we’ll look at what it means to be truly balanced.

*****

Add your comment below. What is the most inspiring/comforting thing you could be told right now?

*****

I’ve fallen a few months behind with my fiction writing schedule, but my priority at the moment is to make sure I’m setting achievable goals for the coming months. My De-Stress Your Writing Life posts are one of my priorities because I promised I’d always have something encouraging here for you to read on a Friday.

If you’ve found the above helpful, please either send the information on to a fellow writer you feel would benefit or leave a little donation in the kitty to help things along.

Everyone who donates will receive a free electronic copy of the book once it has reached completion.

Thanks for dropping by.

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De-Stress Your Writing Life: Taking Control of Your Mindset (Part 2)

Title artwork for De-Stress Your Writing Life

This year I’m blogging my book De-Stress Your Writing Life. You can read it for free on Creativity’s Workshop every Friday. In today’s post we continue the chapter we started last week on Taking Control of Your Mindset.

Permission

From a very young age we’ve been taught to ask for permission – “May I leave the room, miss?” “Can I have another piece of pie, mom?” The publishing world has also taught us that we need the permission of gatekeepers before our words see the light of day.

However, we now live in a world where blogs and self-publishing are commonplace. Are we still waiting for permission to start?

The reality is the first person (and often only person) who needs to give us permission is ourselves.

If we haven’t committed to a project, if we haven’t acknowledged that we can and should be writing, then we’ve withheld permission to begin. That roadblock is of our own making, and only we can tear it down.

Choosing a project, and committing your attention to it, is all the permission you need.

Give it a go: What would you do if you had permission? Write down your answer, and then give yourself permission in writing. Sign your name at the bottom. Now go invest your time and energy in your new project!

Recognition

We want to be known as a writer. We want to be read by other people. We want to take our place in the writing world.

This sounds like the kind of recognition that can only be bestowed by other people, but first ask yourself these questions:

  • When people ask me about myself, do I identify myself a writer?
  • Do I give the proper attention and time to my writing?
  • In other words, do I recognize myself as a writer?

Others won’t recognize you as a writer until you take yourself and your writing seriously. If you don’t call yourself a writer and act like a writer, how will others recognize you as one? The best way to get started is to give yourself a pep talk and get writing.

Give it a go: Start identifying yourself to others as a writer. The next time someone asks you what you go for a living, say you’re a writer. Make a poster declaring yourself a writer. Set aside time each day to write.

Approval

We want to shine in the eyes of others, especially those closest to us. It’s natural to want someone to say, “Well done. I’m proud of you.”

Unfortunately, relying on other people’s approval is like flying a kite – we will find ourselves continually at the mercy of elements outside of our control, the fickle winds of opinion. The constant adjustments and sudden dips will never change.

Don’t wait for others to approve of you. Approve of yourself and keep moving forward. Shut down the voice of your inner critic and allow yourself to be proud of what you accomplish. When you reach the end of each day, find something (no matter how small) that you can say “well done” about.

Give it a go: Make a list of your recent accomplishments. Don’t focus on what went wrong with them, or what didn’t turn out exactly as you planned. Instead, spend your time patting yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made, the words you’ve created, and the results of your hard work.

Inspiration

Ideas are essential to a writer, but they can seem to pop into our head without warning or disappear for long periods of time. We may feel we’re at the mercy of that elusive spark.

However, inspiration is not as fickle as it first appears. By understanding our personal creative process and keeping our ‘creative well’ topped up, we can place ourselves directly in inspiration’s path.

By maintaining a positive outlook and a regular creative routine, you can attract inspiration like bees to pollen. (We’ll cover the source of creativity and the elements of a good creative process in a following chapter.)

Give it a go: Find an activity (like reading a book, walking in a park, visiting a museum) that you find creatively rewarding. Regularly set aside time in your monthly schedule to feed your mind high quality idea fodder.

Direction

Writing projects can tend to loom large on our horizon, especially when the excitement of a fresh idea wears off. We face a mountain of things to do without any idea of where to start. We might wish that someone was there to tell us what to do, to take the lead and give us direction in our writing life.

Often the problem is we’re trying to tackle the entire project all at once. We need to remember that all projects, no matter how huge, are completed in tiny steps. Even experienced writers still only write one word at a time.

If you’re not sure of where to start, write yourself a To Do List. Keep breaking down your To Do List into smaller and smaller chunks until you find something you can start on. If you’re working on a first draft, start anywhere. Just get the first word on the page, and then the second. They’ll eventually add up.

If you don’t know how to do something, then start by learning. View reading a book on the subject or watching an online course as the first step in your project.

Give it a go: Start a To Do List for your project. Take each major task and break it down into smaller tasks until you find something you feel able to manage. Then get started on that task.

As you can see, these needs which first appeared to be out of our hands can often be filled by simply changing our mindset. One of the best ways to help us make this transition is through writing a personalized pep talk, where you can get your new mindset down on paper. We’ll cover that in next week’s post.

*****

Add your comment below. What writing project are you working on at the moment? How have you given yourself permission? What is next on your To Do List?

*****

I’m finally getting back into my writing routine (although I’ve just had a flu jab today so we’ll see how that goes). I’ve fallen a few months behind with my fiction writing schedule, but my priority at the moment is to make sure I’m setting achievable goals for the coming months. My De-Stress Your Writing Life posts are one of my top priorities because I promised I’d always have something encouraging here for you to read on a Friday.

If you’ve found the above helpful, please either send the information on to a fellow writer you feel would benefit or leave a little donation in the kitty to help things along.

Everyone who donates will receive a free electronic copy of the book once it has reached completion.

Thanks for dropping by.

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Daydreaming for Beginners: How to Boost Your Writing Speed by Fantasizing

A woman daydreaming

Thinking… by Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr

I’m Jessica’s Creativity, that little disruptive voice from her imagination that writes in purple text. In this post I’m gonna teach you how to daydream.

Last week I explained the theory behind how daydreaming can improve your writing speed. Now let me give you some tips on how to daydream effectively.

Why?

Because it’s likely been many years since you last daydreamed, and chances are the last time you tried it you were probably told off by a teacher, parent, school crossing guard, or sibling who expected you to keep a look out for mom while he raided the cookie jar. (There’s no need to feel embarrassed, we’ve all been there before.)

Now, as an adult, your sensibleness may have stopped you from keeping your daydreaming muscles active. So this post has some basic reminders for those who are not yet adept at the art of daydreaming. 

Pick a Safe Time and Place

Daydreaming can be great fun, but do not do it when your attention should be elsewhere. For example, don’t daydream while in control of a moving vehicle, bathing an infant, wandering across a busy road, fighting carnivorous dinosaurs, or disarming a nuclear warhead. That’s not an exhaustive list, but you get my drift.

Instead, you might try daydreaming while:

  • Showering (provided you’re not in a drought-affected area where extra-long showers may be a problem).
  • Washing dishes.
  • Doing housework.
  • Gardening.
  • Performing mindless tasks at work.
  • Eating lunch.
  • Walking (in areas where traffic isn’t an issue).

Look at your schedule and choose a few times during the week where daydreaming might be possible.

Don’t Set Yourself a Goal

The beauty of daydreaming is that you never know where you’ll end up, especially when you’re dreaming about your story. You might start off wondering how you’re going to reveal that your heroine’s Peruvian grandmother was the one serving poison sashimi all this time, and instead wind up solving the clue to your antagonist’s cryptic crossword.

That’s why you shouldn’t set yourself daydreaming goals. Don’t expect that you’ll come out of your daydreaming session with a specific answer, otherwise the pressure to perform will impose unnecessary limitations on your daydreams. Instead, allow them to flow where they will and enjoy the journey.

Having said that, do start your daydream with a problem in mind. Use a problem you’ve encountered in your writing as a launching point for your thoughts and then allow them to roam free. You might come up with the answer, or you might discover something completely different. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities before you.

Staring Out the Window is Fine

To start daydreaming, settle yourself in your environment and then start your mind rolling on the topic of your choice (like how your hero is going to escape from the marmot-infested pit he’s just fallen into). Don’t seek to control where your mind goes, simply give it little prods from time to time if necessary.

If you find yourself staring out the window with a blank mind, that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Often it’s not the thoughts themselves that provide the ideas, but the spaces between the thoughts — those spots where your Creativity can jump in with random words and ideas. Make room for your Creativity and don’t seek to fill every little void with thought.

Relax and enjoy the sensations of your wandering mind.

Use Questions

Once you’ve started daydreaming, you may want to prompt your mind and your Creativity to problem-solve and explore.

You can direct your daydreaming by inserting questions like:

  • What if?
  • Why?
  • Then what?
  • What would the consequences be?
  • How can we make that idea bigger?
  • What’s the most unexpected/ridiculous thing that could happen?
  • Under what circumstances would I consider wearing a chicken suit?

Use gentle prods to keep yourself moving forward and exploring options.

Don’t Settle for the First Thing That Comes to Mind

Often the first idea or answer that comes to mind is the cliched response because it’s the easiest — it’s what most other people would come up with if asked the question. You want the more creative option which means you have to dig a little, looking for several more answers to the same question to find something original and worth pursuing.

In this speech by John Cleese (of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame) he mentions that although he is not as talented as some of his fellow comedians, he stayed at his desk longer until he found the unexpected ideas that kept things fresh. 

Try it yourself. How many uses can you think of for a brick? Your first few answers will be the usual — e.g. build a house, doorstop, fling through the window of someone you dislike. But once you get past those, then you start coming up with more interesting answers — e.g. heat it up and stick it in your bed on a cold night, use it to weigh down your hot air balloon. The longer you work at the problem the more interesting your answers will be.

The answers will come slower than the first few, but they’ll be worth the wait. There’s no need to rush your daydreaming. Spend some time exploring all your options, and when you think you’ve run out of ideas push for one more just to see what happens. Your Creativity may surprise you!

Don’t Overthink It

If daydreaming becomes stressful, then you’ve gone wrong somewhere. It should be an inspiring, entertaining, illuminating experience. If you find yourself forcing the thoughts, then step back and let your mind rest.

If there are no thoughts there, then just allow your mind to wander — like an arctic explorer across the snowy tundra (without the polar bears and the possibility that climate change is about to maroon you by slicing off a fresh iceberg beneath your feet).

Perhaps your Creativity needs the blankness of your mind to recuperate so she/he can give you an answer to your writing problem later.

Whatever the results of your daydream, by using these tips you can prime your Creativity full of ideas so when it comes time to sit down and write you’re both ready to get to work!

Tune in next week for a guest post by a fellow writer explaining how she uses ‘what if?’ to solve her writing conundrums.

In the meantime, what are your daydreaming tips? Share them with us in the comments.

 


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How Daydreaming Can Improve Your Writing Speed

A little girl looking out the window, daydreaming

“Daydreaming” by Greg Westfall via Flickr

Hi, I’m Jessica’s Creativity (you can tell because I’m writing in purple) and today I want to convince you to daydream more often.

Last week we started looking at the subject of daydreaming.

Why?

Because it’s one of those guilty pleasures, something you were told off for doing as a child and then discovered valid reasons for doing in adulthood — just like putting your elbows on the dinner table, licking your knife, and avoiding mashed potatoes (can you believe your parents didn’t realize the dangers of carbs?!).

As a child, you may have been told that daydreaming was a waste of time. I’m here today to convince you that, as a writer, you can now say that daydreaming is a legitimate part of your writing process. Not only that, it might actually save you time.

Don’t believe me?

Go listen to this interview with Hugh Howey and pay particular attention around 12:20 minutes. Before becoming a full-time writer, he did a number of other jobs. He daydreamed while he worked, writing stories in his head so when he sat down to the page he was ready to go.

Daydreaming can be used to prepare your mind, so when you finally sit down to write the words are ready to pour onto the page. 

The act of creating takes time. Sure, there’s that moment of inspiration when an idea suddenly hits you, but one idea does not a story make. (I’m sure that’s a quote from Yoda, during his years as a writing coach.) To put together a story with plot, characters, location, and descriptions, your Creativity needs time to form them.

How often have you sat yourself down in front of the page and ‘switched your Creativity on’ expecting the words to come, only to find your Creativity needs time to ‘buffer up’ before providing you with the details you need? You end up staring off into space while your Creativity meanders through the streets of your imaginary world looking for clues, playing with plot twists, planting red herrings or finding the perfect outfit for your heroine’s big scene (don’t ever rush a diva while she’s choosing stilettos).

Let’s face it, that’s technically daydreaming. Your Creativity needs that time to create, so why not start your Creativity on the task a few hours early?

Get her/him working on story details while you commute to work, wash the dishes, go for a run, do some gardening, walk your pet python, or do some other mindless task. Then when you do sit down to the page your Creativity is already ‘loaded’ and ready to go. You’ve got an image in your head of what you want to write so all that’s left is to find the words.

If you and your Creativity can work out a system of regular daydreaming, then you can potentially speed up your writing time (even if it did lead to you getting off the train two stops too late, breaking your daughter’s favorite mug, getting yourself completely lost while exercising, mowing your petunias, and losing your pet snake down a storm drain). The inspiration and creation has already happened. When it comes time to write you become a scribe, recording all the progress you’ve already thought up, while your Creativity adds in extra details here and there as needed.

Now I know what you’re thinking. What if I forget the stuff I’ve daydreamed? The answer is relatively simple. Make quick notes about the things you’re thinking about and then make sure you have a regular writing schedule in place (daily would be ideal) so you can get those words down on the page as quickly as possible. The longer you leave the images in your head, the more flaky and stale they become…rather like pastries. So get those ideas onto the page while they’re still piping hot!

There you have it. If you want to speed up your writing, spend more time staring out into space daydreaming. It’s very simple really.

How do you use daydreaming to speed up your writing?

******

P.S. In case you haven’t heard, The Red Umbrella (my latest short story) is now available on Amazon. If you didn’t get the news, then sign up to my author mailing list for regular updates or check out my author blog.


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Creative Action: Say Can

A girl looking very grumpy. Obviously she's been saying can't too often.

“Grouch” by Greg Westfall via Flickr

Hi, I’m Jessica’s Creativity and today I’m laying down a challenge!

Are you a little petulant?

Do you say “can’t” too often?

Adults tend to associate the petulant use of “can’t” with small children who refuse to eat vegetables, take baths or enter indentured servitude.

But in my experience, adults are equally guilty of saying “can’t” when they really “could” if they got out of their own way, got off their high horse or got down to rainbow tacks (because brass tacks are sooo passé).

For example, have you ever finished reading a book and thought to yourself, “I can’t write something like that”?

Have you been blessed with the incandescent light bulb of an idea only to say, “I can’t do that idea justice, so I won’t even try writing it”?

Or what about the ever popular, “I can’t write today, because I promised to walk Aunt Mable’s tapir (or whatever common excuse you use)”?

If you spend your life effectively nipping yourself in the bud every time you come close to writing about something brilliant, you know what happens? You end up bushy with no flowers…because you nipped all the buds…

Yes…well…let’s pretend that little flop of a joke didn’t happen and move on, shall we?

Anyway, for this month’s creative action I want you to do one very simple thing which could make an incredible difference to your writing life.

Say can.

The next time you read an inspiring book, say to yourself, “I can write something inspiring like that.”

Why? Because you can. With your own unique writing voice and your own unique writing drive you can inspire someone with your words.

The next time you get a flash of an idea, say to yourself, “I can do that idea justice. I’ll try writing it.”

Why? Because you can. It may take time. You may have to learn some new skills and hurdle a few mountains in the process, but it’s possible.

The next time you’re tempted to find an excuse not to write today, say to yourself and anyone listening, “I can write today.”

Why? Because, you guessed it, chances are you can. Get out of your own way and settle yourself in front of the page. See what happens. Prove yourself right by writing at least one word. Then follow it up with one more. See?! You can!

Right, off you go! Say CAN!

And then don’t forget to pop back here and leave a comment telling us what you did. 😉


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7 Ways to Change Your Mindset and Take Control of Your Writing Life

A woman riding her horse along a beach.

Taking the reins of your writing life! (Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art)

Do you feel you’re in control of your writing life?

Have you taken up the reins and set off in the direction you want to go?

Or are you waiting for someone to take you buy the hand and lead you out?

Over the past two weeks the Creativity’s Workshop Mailing List have been looking at how to write your own personalised pep talk. We’re discussing how we can use our own words to inspire our writing.

Last week we spent some time thinking about the following questions:

  • What do I need to hear?
  • What do I wish someone would say to me?
  • What are some of my favourite quotes?
  • What would be the most inspiring/comforting thing I could be told right now?

While thinking about these questions, it’s common for writers to realise that they’re looking for at least one of the following elements:

  • Comfort
  • Sympathy
  • Permission
  • Recognition
  • Approval
  • Inspiration
  • A place to start

If these sound familiar to you, then you’re not alone. These are things that just about every writer has needed at some point in their life.

The problem is that we all too often rely on other people to provide us with these things. We wait for permission, we search for inspiration and we crave approval.

By expecting other people to fill these needs, we hand the reins of our writing life to those who aren’t invested in our personal journey.

So what’s the answer?

The answer is to fill these needs ourselves. It may sound counter-intuitive or even impossible, but let’s look at each element individually and see how you can take back control of your writing life.

Comfort

Discomfort can come from something as simple as the wrong chair or something as complicated as deep disgust for the writing we’re producing.

Obviously, if your chair is causing your problems then that’s an easy fix – find yourself a new chair. But when the discomfort runs deeper than that, the solution may not be as forthcoming.

Often what is making us uncomfortable is not the situation itself, but our way of looking at the situation. By finding a new and positive way of looking at our writing we can regain comfort and satisfaction in our work.

For example, if you are disappointed in the writing you produce first thing in the morning, view that writing time as cleaning the bilge out of your writing pump before the clean words start flowing.

Give it a go: Choose an aspect of your writing that you find disappointing and then look for a positive slant. It may take a bit of practice, but you’re a writer – your job is to find new ways of describing and explaining a subject. Once you find a more positive way of looking at the situation, write it down in a pep talk so you can refer to it often.

Sympathy

Sometimes we just want someone to acknowledge that the writing life has it’s difficulties and that other writers battle with the same hurdles as we do. We want someone to put their arm around our shoulder and say, “I know, me too.”

Most writers are quite open about their difficulties, which can be a great benefit to the rest of us. Reading biographies and blogs by other writers can help us see we’re not alone when it comes to things like writer’s block, editing haze and other quirks of the writer’s life. It’s not unusual to find that a ‘great’ writer battled with similar insecurities to those we individually face.

For example, here’s a quote from Neil Gaiman that certainly made me feel better:

I feel uncertain about my writing all the time. I feel uncertain when I’m writing it, I feel uncertain when I’m editing it, I feel fairly uncertain when I’m sending it off to people, and then round about the point where I start feeling that it might be rather good, suddenly it feels like it was written by a different person a long time ago. If anyone has gone ‘If I was only Neil Gaiman, I’d feel certain about my writing’ then dream on . . .

Even if we can’t find similarities from these sources, we can still acknowledge the difficulties we personally face and take the time to appreciate how hard we’re working.

The only person who completely understands what you face is you. So give yourself a hug, a pat on the back and an encouraging smile.

Give it a go: Write down one of your biggest writing hurdles and describe how it makes you feel. Sit with that feeling for a few minutes and acknowledge the impact it has on you. Now write yourself a positive message to help you continue facing that problem with conviction.

Permission

From a very young age we’ve been taught to ask for permission – “May I leave the room, miss?” “Can I have another piece of pie?” The publishing world has also taught us that we need the permission of gatekeepers before our words see the light of day.

However, we now live in a world where blogs and self-publishing are commonplace. Are we still waiting for permission to start?

The reality is the first person (and often only person) who needs to give us permission is ourselves.

If we haven’t committed to a project, if we haven’t acknowledged that we can and should be writing, then we’ve withheld permission to begin. That roadblock is of our own making, and only we can tear it down.

Choosing a project and committing your attention to it is all the permission you need.

Give it a go: What would you do if you had permission? Write down your answer, then give yourself permission in writing. Sign your name at the bottom. Now go invest your time and energy in your new project!

Recognition

We want to be known as a writer. We want to be read by other people. We want to take our place in the writing world.

This sounds like the kind of recognition that can only be bestowed by other people, but first ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I identify myself to others as a writer?
  • Do I give the proper attention and time to my writing?
  • In other words, do I recognise myself as a writer?

Others won’t recognise you as a writer until you take yourself and your writing seriously. If you don’t call yourself a writer and act like a writer, how will others recognise you? The best way to get started is to give yourself a pep talk and get writing.

Give it a go: Start identifying yourself to others as a writer. The next time someone asks you what you go for a living, say you’re a writer. Make a poster declaring yourself a writer. Set aside time each day to write.

Approval

We want to shine in the eyes of others, especially those closest to us. It’s natural to want someone to say, “Well done. I’m proud of you.”

Unfortunately, relying on other people’s approval is like flying a kite – we will find ourselves continually at the mercy of elements outside of our control. The constant adjustments and sudden dips will never change.

This is why most children prefer remote controlled planes and helicopters. Under our own propulsion we have far more control.

Don’t wait for others to approve of you. Approve of yourself and keep moving forward. Shut down the voice of your inner critic and allow yourself to be proud of what you accomplish. When you reach the end of each day, find something (no matter how small) that you can say “Well done” about.

Give it a go: Make a list now of your recent accomplishments. Don’t focus on what went wrong with them, or what didn’t turn out exactly as you planned. Instead, spend your time patting yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made, the words you’ve created and the results of your hard work.

Inspiration

Ideas are essential to a writer. We seem to be at the mercy of that elusive spark.

However, inspiration is not as fickle as it first appears. By understanding our personal creative process and keeping our creative well topped up, we can place ourselves directly in inspiration’s path.

By using your personalised pep talk to maintain a positive outlook, and remind you of your creative routine, you can attract inspiration like bees to pollen.

Give it a go: Find an activity (be it reading a book, walking in a park, visiting a museum) that you find creatively rewarding. Regularly set aside time in your monthly schedule to feed your Creativity on high quality idea juice.

A Place to Start

Writing projects can tend to loom large on our horizon, especially when the excitement of a fresh idea wears off. We face a mountain of things to do without an idea of where to start.

But remember: All projects, no matter how huge, are completed in tiny steps. Even experienced writers still only write one word at a time.

If you’re not sure of where to start, keep breaking down your To Do List into smaller and smaller chunks until you find something you can start on. If you’re working on a first draft, start anywhere. Just get the first word on the page, and then the second. They’ll eventually add up.

If you don’t know how to do something, then start by learning. View reading a book on the subject or watching an online course as your place to start.

There’s nothing wrong with baby steps.

Give it a go: Start a To Do List for your project. Take each major task and break it down into smaller tasks until you find something you feel able to manage. Then get started on that task.

As you can see, what first appears to be out of our hands can often be within our control by simply changing our mindset. One of the best ways to do this is through a personalised pep talk, where you can get your new mindset down on paper.

What about you? Have you used a change of mindset to take control of your writing life? I love comments, so please share your thoughts.