Old Project, New Perspective: It’s Time for a Mindset Reset

Resetting and restarting

By the time you reach the editing stage, you’ve been working on your project for a long time. Your creative brain might be tired. Maybe you have doubts, distractions, overwhelm, or you can’t see your way forward. Give yourself a fresh start with this M.I.N.D.S.E.T. check-up:

Motivation—In the editing stage, you are deep inside the project. External rewards—publication, bestseller lists, rankings—have their place, but internal motivation is the most powerful spur to creativity. Go inside yourself to discover your “why” and post it where you can see or hear it often.

Inner critic—Doubts are the personal plot bunnies of every author. Use this excellent exercise to track down and defuse yours:

  • Defeating Your Inner Critic Part I – Track the Problem
  • Defeating Your Inner Critic Part II – Put the Critic on the Stand

If you have trouble believing the affirmations you write, try favorite quotes instead.

Neglect the noise—Checking your sales, ranking, follower count, or word count can take you out of the zone. External motivations won’t help you here.

Decide—A wise writing mentor once told me that the key to finishing a project was “to decide.” Take your power back. Choose what you want to do—in marketing, in this next scene, in this outline—and benefit from a narrow scope and clear focus. Getting into the zone requires a task that is slightly challenging and well-defined.

Simplify—The writerly gift of overcomplication isn’t for real life. What’s the simplest solution to the editing, writing, publication, or marketing problem that faces you?

Experiment—Instead of looking up the answer to your challenge on social media, design a tiny test. What works for your work? Or look back over your history to see what helped the last time. Then do more of that.

Trust Yourself—If your draft disappoints, your published work isn’t received the way you hoped, or your newest marketing plan disappears without a trace, don’t despair. You have the vision, discipline, skills, and material to transform your creation or to make something brand new. You’re a writer. The power is in you.



Stop Worrying; Start Writing by Sarah Painter

Motivation for Creative People by Mark McGuinness

The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

Prosperous Creation by Monica Leonelle

Laurel Decher

Laurel Decher

There might be no frigate like a book, but publishing can feel like a voyage on the H.M.S. Surprise. There’s always a twist and there’s never a moment to lose. Laurel’s mission is to help you make the most of today’s opportunities. She’s a strategic problem-solver, tool collector, and co-inventor of the “you never know” theory of publishing. As an epidemiologist, she studied factors that help babies and toddlers thrive. Now she writes books for children ages nine to twelve about finding more magic in life. She’s a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), has various advanced degrees, and a tendency to smuggle vegetables into storylines.

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