Forming The Mindset Of A Professional Writer
by Writing Workshops Staff
2 months ago
So, you want to be a professional writer? Many aspirants to this believe it takes years of hard work and ample success leading to a full-time career before you can call yourself a professional writer. The truth is, you can be a professional writer today—you just have to have the right mindset.
A professional approaches projects differently from an amateur or hobbyist. When writers get down on themselves, they are most likely stuck in a doubtful mindset that whispers in their ear things like “you’re not a writer” or “don’t call yourself a novelist, you haven’t finished your novel yet.” These are complete lies. When a writer adopts the mindset of a professional, they can do anything.
Here are some tips and tricks for forming a professional mindset.
Call Yourself a Professional Writer
Seriously, just do it. Don’t ask permission. Say the words now: I. Am. A. Professional. Writer. There, didn’t that feel good? We tend to put different qualifications on what it really means to be a writer. Some would claim that you have to make money or be published to be a professional writer. Others would claim you can only be a true professional when it’s your full-time job. But calling yourself a professional writer from the moment you decide to be one is a great way to motivate yourself into action. Instead of waiting for the words to be true, say the words and then act to make them true!
Ignore the Metrics
Professional writers don’t worry about vanity metrics. Again, this is all about placing our own qualifications on the situation. Don’t say, “I’m not a professional until I hit X number of followers” or “X number of book sales.” You are a professional writer if you set your mind to it and take action toward it.
Define Your Goals
A professional writer has a goal to achieve and a path to getting there. Sure, the goal may be lofty and the path may be dark and full of terrors, but they know what they want. This can be anything—publish a book, be a paid guest blogger, start a freelance writing business. Adopting a professional mindset means taking these goals and manifesting them by writing them down and telling others.
Think Like a Business
A professional writer makes it known to others that they are a professional. They treat themselves like a brand and run their writing like a business. This includes marketing their writing or their services and paying taxes on any earnings they bring in.
A professional keeps calm under pressure. Where an amateur might despair at something like a rejection letter, a professional sees it as a part of their reality. You don’t land every client or blog pitch or agent query, but there’s no need to react emotionally. Look at the situation logically, make a new plan, and try again. Managing your emotions is part of being a professional writer.
Make a Habit
I bet there are certain habitual tasks you perform at your job like making coffee every morning or turning in the same report every Friday. In the same way, a writer makes their craft a habit and treats it like a job. Professional writers schedule writing time and keep their appointments like they would with a client. You can also associate your writing habit with a secondary habit. I have a pair of “writing shoes” that signal my creative brain to wake up for writing when I put them on.
Surround Yourself with Support
As a professional, you probably look up to other people in your career field or industry for guidance, training, and support. In the same way, a professional writer must find their support in the writing world. This could mean mingling with other professional writers at networking events, hanging out with industry professionals at conferences, or going to local writing groups to find likeminded local authors.
Find a Mentor
Even more specifically than finding support, I urge you to find a mentor. Look at your goal and find someone in the world who has achieved that. Make sure this person is someone you connect with and admire deeply. Every book for entrepreneurs gives the same advice—find a mentor. The advice applies just as much to a professional writer.
My mother always told me that I could make my own weather. Even if everyone around me is grouchy and stormy, I can be a ray of sunshine by keeping my happy attitude. In the same way, I keep the mindset of a professional writer by constantly reminding myself that I don’t need external validation to be what I want to be. I want to be a professional, so I set my mind to do it and it happens.