Have A Growth Mindset To Improve Your Writing
It was embarrassing.
Who wrote this? It’s awful!
Oh… I wrote it.
Or did I?
To be precise, a former version of me wrote it. I wrote it five years ago. Now I think it is trash.
But I thought it was good five years ago. It was fine, and I was already making money to write, but now I think it wasn’t good.
Why? What changed?
The answer is simple: I got better at writing. I’ve been writing 2000-10,000 words per day, six days a week, as a pro ghostwriter for five years. It’s safe to say that practice makes perfect.
If not perfect, at least better.
Not only that, but I’ve been trying to become a better writer by studying writing. I’ve read books about writing. I’ve taken courses and done exercises to be a better writer. I’ve read the best writing and even hand-copied it to become a better writer. I’ve grown because I have a growth mindset.
I was stunned when I heard Steven Pressfield say he wrote for 27 years before he got published. He claims his early writing was bad.
I was stunned…and excited.
I was excited, because this means someone can go from “bad at writing” to “so good that he writes beloved best sellers.”
We usually think of great writers as those who come out of womb writing well. It isn’t true. There are those who catch on early, but no one comes out of the womb writing. Everyone has to grow at some point. Everyone has to learn and get better. And no one is good enough that they couldn’t improve.
I want this to be encouraging. If you love writing then you have everything you need. You do need to love it, because if you don’t, it will be grueling. The skill comes along with the reps.
The opposite is the fixed mindset (see Carol Dweck’s work on these two mindsets). A fixed mindset says, “I’m a great writer,” or “I’m a bad writer,” and that’s it. With a fixed mindset you cannot grow, because you cannot imagine growing. You have an identity and you’re stuck in it. Instead, understand the powerful reality that you are never “fixed” but always changing.
You know what I’m looking forward to? Five years from now when I’m embarrassed about this post. Why will I be embarrassed? Because I write 2000-10,000 words per day and I work terribly hard to improve my writing. How could I not get better?
My hope is that if you think of yourself as no good at writing you can see it only as a starting point. If you love it, you will have the energy and desire to practice. If you practice, you will be a great writer, but more importantly, you will be a writer that never stops growing. I cannot wait to see what you write then!