Tag Archives | mindset

Writing Tip: The Process Mindset

Years ago, I attended a creativity camp in Taos, New Mexico put on by Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way fame.  (Yes, it was as cool as it sounds.  To say something is life changing is a cliche, but in this case, it truly was.  Fromt that point on, I took myself seriously as a creative person. I also met friends with whom I'm still close.)  


My Taos Creativity Camp pillow.

Every morning in camp, we listened to Julia talk and did exercises from the Artist's Way and her other books.  Then, after lunch, we were free to wander the grounds of the San Geronimo Lodge, wend our way into town, or engage in creative classes, like fabric painting, doll making, drumming and others I've forgotten.

Having always been a textile person, one day I chose to do the fabric painting.  The deal was we'd paint a pillow and at the end of the week it would be sewn and stuffed and ready for us to take home.  I was filled with excitement about what I was learning on the creative process and I painted my pillow with two phrases that had resonated with me at the camp: 

Do the work, don't judge it.

Process is everything, product happens.

I have beleived fervently in these ever since.  And I have instituted them in my life with varying degrees of success, sometimes totally into the concepts, others, not so much.

For whatever reason (the position of the planets? the stretching exercises I'm doing? the yogurt I'm eating for breakfast?) I am currently in a huge process mindset phase.

And let me just tell you, it is glorious. 

The process mindset is about putting words on the page.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Put words on the page and don't worry about how good they are, what they sound like, if you should add more here or subtract some there.  

And when you approach the work with this mindset, a funny thing happens.  You start to put your true self on the page and later, when you read back over the words, you realize that they are kinda good.  But it really doesn't even matter, because you know that soon enough you'll be in a revision mindset phase and then you can go over the words and make them really good.

The best way I know to get myself into a process mindset is to tell myself that, it's just writing practice. As I wrote in this post, writing practice is any writing that is not related to your WIP.  And that takes the pressure right off, and if your experience is anything like mine, away you will go, writing like crazy. What's really cool is that writing practice can function as either a warm-up–write 300-500 words and then switch over to your WIP, or it can segue right into the WIP, as happens with me more and more.

But the key is the process mindset.  If you're loose and easy and tell yourself all that matters is that you get words on the page, it makes all the difference in the world.

(I wrote specifics about how to do a daily writing practice in the above-mentioned post.)

Do you have a writing practice that helps you get words on the page?


A First Look at Eric Maisel’s Making Your Creative Mark

Eric Maisel is practically a one-man industry.  Well, he invented an industry–that of creativity coaching.  In his own creativity coaching practice, he’s worked with MacArthur fellows, best-selling authors, Academy Award winners, painters, musicians, all kinds of creators.  And not only that, he’s written books–tons of ’em, several of which I have read and enjoyed.

So when his publicist at New World Library offered me his latest book, Making Your Creative Mark: Nine Keys to Achieving Your Artistic Goals to review, I enthusiastically said yes.

But I have a confession to make.  I’ve not gotten past the first few pages of the first chapter, which is titled, The Mind Key.

And this is not because the book is bad and boring.  It’s quite the opposite, in fact.  He’s got a list of nine tips for mastering your mind I found so helpful that I go back and re-read them every time I pick up the book.  Which is why I’m still on chapter one.

Why is mind mastery so important?  I’ll let Maisel tell you:

“Creating depends on having a mind quiet enough to allow ideas to bubble up.  Living a successful, healthy life as an artist requires that your self-talk align with  your goals and your aspirations.  Your job is to quiet your mind and extinguish negative self-talk.  These are your two most important tasks if you want a shot at your best life in the arts.”  (emphasis mine)

How about that, huh?  Huh?  Wouldn’t you agree with him?  I would.  Here are a couple of the tips he shares:

–Recognize you are the only one who can get a grip on your mind

–Listen to what you say to yourself

–Decide if what you are telling yourself serves you

–When you decide that a thought doesn’t serve you, dispute it and dismiss it

And so on (each tip is followed with more information on it that I didn’t include here).

I love this stuff.  I love reading about mastering the mind and mindset because it is at the basis of everything we do and create.  But too often, the only recommendation people give is to try positive thinking, which doesn’t work when it’s just covering up negative thinking. The reason I keep going back to Maisel’s tips are because they are specific and actionable (I know, I sort like a productivity expert).

So, anyway, I thought I’d go ahead and give you a heads up about the book in case you want to check it out.  I am planning to write more about the rest of the book, once I can manage to pull myself out of chapter one.

What are your thoughts on mindset?  How do you train your mind for the work you need to do?

New World Library sent me a review copy of the book, but the thoughts expressed are mine.