The first time I wrote, I provided some thoughts on constructive ways to take advantage of the spring to reset our writing. And last time I wrote, I spent some time thinking about why spring is so important to us as writers and writing professionals—as opposed to any other season of the year. This week, I wanted to close out this trilogy of posts by reflecting a little bit on the importance of a “growth mindset” approach to your work.
We’ve discussed the growth mindset before on this blog, but for those who may not have been here for that conversation, the concept of a growth mindset (especially in contrast to a fixed mindset) is one of many tools in the personality toolkits developed and celebrated by life coaches and mindfulness experts the world over. It’s less useful to think of these as categories that a person either falls into or doesn’t fall into, and more useful to think of a growth mindset as aspirational. We want to cultivate a growth mindset, and if you have a growth mindset, you’ll automatically be congenial to the idea that our personalities are not fixed and that life is a moving target.
When you take a growth mindset and look at it in light of our ongoing conversation about springtime and crafting a “spring reset” for your writing and marketing as a self-published author, the two start talking to each other in a really rewarding way. In a fixed mindset, it would be really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your success or failure is defined by strict metrics and that you will either succeed or fail, with no shades of nuance in between. A fixed mindset is allergic to baby steps, progress over the long arc of time, and mistakes.
A growth mindset, in contrast, takes J.K. Rowling’s brilliant “The Fringe Benefits of Failure” seriously. Mistakes aren’t a marker of failure, but rather the building blocks of success. Trial and error? No thanks! Just trial and refinement, for lack of a better term. A growth mindset finds ways to transform the process of self-publishing into a constantly evolving and life-enriching learning opportunity. And this isn’t like when you scraped your knee growing up and your parents sat you down and told you not to cry because “this is a learning opportunity,” but a true recognition of the reality that every experience you have in publishing builds to a final product that is worthy of the time and effort you put into it.
Just as seedlings are fragile when they first start out and take constant care and cultivation, your book deserves the kind of gentleness you give the new plants you’ll put into the ground this spring. Not everything is going to be robust and able to withstand gale-force winds right away, but that doesn’t mean that seedling is a failure or doing anything other than what it is meant to: grow! There is no fixed end of the growth process, no point in time when the project of getting better at what you do is done. All we can do is keep going forward, finding those life-enriching steps that bring us joy and further our book publishing projects, and celebrating each and every step as we take it.
You are not alone. ♣︎
Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!