Young woman with fashion make up straightens her hat

Changing Hats to Match Your Mindset

Elaine Bateman

What hat do you wear to start your working day?

No, I’m not asking about your workwear fashion choices; this is about mindset. It’s about being in the moment and training yourself to focus on the right things at the right time.

It’s well documented that the writing brain and the editing brain do not work well together. 

You don’t want those two fighting for headspace when you’re trying to work.

Using the concept of changing hats (literally or figuratively) can change your perspective and keep your focus where it needs to be.


When you’re wearing your writer hat, flaunt your gorgeous french chapeau. It’s a given that all writers view their manuscript like Gollum views his precious ring, with equal parts love and despair. It is a work in progress. Creativity flows from your mind, through your fingers and onto the page.


As an editor, the flow is reversed. Put on your miner’s hat, flip on the light, and take a look at your pile of dirt. There’s gold in them thar hills and it’s your job to dig it out. Kill your darlings; those pesky adverbs that you lovingly added just days ago.


Okay, Jack, we know you loved the cow, but you need those magic beans. Now it’s time to look at that manuscript with your business hat. Pull that bowler hat on tight, because if you thought the last two hats hurt your head, you’re in for a bumpy ride. When you wear the business hat, you’re thinking about keeping a roof over your head, food in your mouth, and a Tesla in the garage. That manuscript is no longer your precious ring, and the dirt is gone. It’s a product, a commodity, and it’s your job to make others want it. 

But how do you stop those hats from smooshing together?

Stay on track. Wear one hat at a time. Keep a notepad close-by while you’re writing. When business thoughts threaten to pull you from the writing flow, jot them down, and return to the work you need to focus on. Is it easy? Not always. 

But if you can manage it, I doff my cap to you.

Picture of Elaine Bateman

Elaine Bateman

In her pre-author life, Elaine worked for FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies in CRM, project support, and IT Training. She has a bachelor of science. in Systems Practice and Design. She is the author of eight published fiction novels and is working on her ninth. Elaine enjoys giving back to the writing community through her work with 20Booksto50k, an online author community. She lives in the UK with her husband and dog.

Start or Join a Conversation About This Article:

When Writing Means Business, Storytellers Read Indie Author Magazine

Read Indie Annie's Latest Advice:

Dear Indie Annie,

In the past, I’ve hired editors, cover designers, and even a virtual assistant. Passing off those responsibilities makes sense, but internal formatting always seems so straightforward. At what point is it worth investing in professional formatting services? Frugal Formatter Dear Frugal, Oh my, that moniker sounds like you’re an inhabitant of Middle Earth, but I digress. Formatting your own manuscript seems as simple as building a bookcase from IKEA: just insert tab A into slot

Read More »

Dear Indie Annie,

Despite my best marketing efforts, my backlist just isn’t selling. How do I decide whether to go back to the drawing board and refocus the series or cut my losses and unpublish it?  At a Crossroads Dear Crossroads,  I feel your frustration, love. When a backlist underperforms, it’s like owning a vintage auto that sputters more than it purrs. Do you tune it up or trade it in for a new model? Let’s hash out

Read More »

Dear Indie Annie,

I’ve only ever written in one particular genre. I have an audience built there, a decent backlist, and a few ideas for future books. But I just recently got an idea for a story in an entirely different genre—one that I don’t even know I’ll continue past this book. Do I write the new idea or stick with what I know?  Pestered by a Plot Bunny Dearest Plot Bunny, The temptation of an off-brand manuscript

Read More »

Follow Us

Weekly Tutorial

Sign up for our Newsletter

We’ll send you our best articles, special offers, and industry updates

Would You Like a Free Issue?

Hello! I’m Indie Annie, and I would love to send you a copy of this month’s issue of Indie Author Magazine. Just join our email list and I’ll drop it in your inbox!