(Transcript) Top Five Mindset Shifts To Get Your Words Flowing



Morgan MacDonald : Hello, hello, and welcome to the replay. We'll, sort of, let people join. I wanted to let you guys know [that] we're talking about writing. It's my favorite thing to talk about. I am Morgan Gist Macdonald… hello, hello… Jessika – sorry, I just popped up a new profile.

Hey guys. Welcome, welcome. So we're talking about writing, my favorite thing to talk about. I am Morgan Gist Macdonald . I am [a] writing coach, and editor, and author, and my web site is http://www.paperravenediting.com .


Jessika ( https://twitter.com/jiso ) : Greetings from Sweden!


Morgan MacDonald :  Jessica, you’re in Sweden, nice.  Sweden is lovely, I feel like. I don’t know why. [laughter] Sweden just evokes this feeling that like surely everything is peaceful and wonderful there. [laughter] I have no idea of what Sweden is like, although one of my authors DOES live in Stockholm, and she loves it.

Anway, so one of the things that I find people love to talk about with writing is all of the tips and tricks and like, “Do I write in Scrivener, or Evernote, or Google Docs… or whatever?” And I love to geek out on that stuff too. But really, I want to start off with this Monday with some more foundational stuff. Because you can have the best tools in the world, and the best marketing plan in the world, but if you’re not ready for writing In your MIND you’re not going to be able to finish your book, or whatever you’re writing. So I like to think of writing as a confidence battle, and the battle is won or lost in your mind, really. I mean, we are SO able to psyche ourselves out. So I want to give you guys some strategies and tools to keep you from psyching yourself out.

Oh, while I’m at it, if you guys are not yet following me, and you love to talk about writing, hit that little [Peri View?] there, and hit “follow me”. And everything that we’re talking about I’ve written down in what I call “Scope Notes” on my web site. So I just have a little Evernote file, and as I’m thinking about what I want to talk about today I just pop some notes in there, and then put them on my web site so that you guys can get notes later. So I’ll show you the link, but it will be http://www.paperravenediting.com/periscope .

So, let’s hop into it. So yeah, let me know where you’re coming in from? And if you’re writing, what are you writing? Are you writing books, blogs, theses, magazine articles? Like what do you write?… Thanks for the hearts guys.. Because I want to help YOU do YOUR best writing, whatever kind of writing that is.

So, the first mindset shift that’s really common is people Say to themselves – this is all internal, [and] how we talk to ourselves – we say, “I’m not a good writer.” Yeah. I say that to myself even. I’m like, “I’m just not a good writer.” And even if people have told you that you ARE a good writer, that thought still just like sits and cycles in your mind.  So a way to turn this around is to say, “I have something valuable to share.”


FOAZ2000 (https://twitter.com/foaz2000 ) : Hi!


Morgan MacDonald :  Hey Foaz? Sorry if I’m saying that wrong. Hello, hello.

So if you find yourself thinking, “I’m not a good writer.” You can turn around and say, “I have something valuable to share, and an editor can help clean up the grammar later.” Right? So take the focus on whether you’re a good writer or bad writer – like THAT doesn’t matter. It’s whether you have something to share… Thanks for the hearts. I’m glad this is resonating with you guys.

So that’s, kind of, the first foundation mindset shift – AWAY from whether or not you’re a good writer, and TOWARD just the fact that you have something to share.


AYESHAH O. (https://twitter.com/LeAyeshah ) :  I was told I’m a “lazy writer”… Ouch!


Morgan MacDonald : Oh Ayesha, “I was told I’m a lazy writer.” That’s terrible. [laughter] I don’t even really know what a “lazy writer” is. I mean, I guess it could mean a lot of things, honestly. That’s one of my pet peeves, is like feedback that’s NOT helpful. It’s like, “What do you mean, “lazy writer”? Does that mean that I type really slowly?” [laughter] What does that mean?

So yes, but even as much as other people’s comments on our writing hurt, our OWN comments on our own writing is often what keeps us from writing.

So the second one…
AYESHAH O. (https://twitter.com/LeAyeshah ) :  Like I don’t explain myself enough.


Morgan MacDonald : Oh, so like you don’t explain yourself well enough. Oh yeah, so I do have some tips for that. Let me table that until after I hit these five, and [then] remind me. Don’t let me forget.

Okay. So the second one [is], “I’m not an expert.” And this gets us no matter WHAT industry you’re in. Whether it’s academia, or social media, or whatever. [It’s] like this feeling that, “I don’t know what I’m talking about.” And you start thinking of the “experts” in your industry. You just compare yourself to them like, “I just will never… I might as well not write.”

So, how to flip THAT mindset is to say, “I can share what I’ve learned so far.” Okay? So, “I may NOT be an expert. I may not be the world’s  foremost expert.” That’s totally fine. “I can share what I’ve learned so far.” And whatever you’ve learned will be valuable to someone else. I promise. I promise.

And sometimes they just need to hear it from YOU. Sometimes people don’t WANT to learn from the foremost expert. They’re too far, and above, and away, and untouchable. But maybe YOU are the voice that can reach to someone who’s a little bit -like one step BEHIND you – and reach out to them and say, “I don’t know everything, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.” And maybe THAT’S exactly the, sort of, lifeline that your reader really needs. So, it’s okay if you’re not an expert. You can share what you’ve learned so far.

Number three : “I’m such a procrastinator.”  I say this to myself all the time. As much as I love to do this, and what-not, I feel like I say to myself internally, “I’m such a procrastinator. I’ll never actually get this done.” How to flip that is to say, “I can write for ten minutes today.” Like, table all of the other issues, and, “How am I going to write this whole book?” Or, “How am I going to blog every day?” Don’t even go there right now.

If you are struggling with this mindset, that “I’m a procrastinator, so I don’t get things done”, write for ten minutes. It’s like PROVING to yourself, and to your subconscious, “I CAN sit down, and I CAN write.” So that’s a really quick way to shift out of that mindset, and say, “Okay. I MAY be a habitual procrastinator, but here in this moment I don’t HAVE to procrastinate. I can write for ten minutes.”

Number four : “This is not the right time in my life to be writing.” [laughter] So we all do this one too. Some of us are like, “Oh, I’m too YOUNG. I’m in high school, or college, or whatever, I don’t have enough life experience.” Some people say, ”I’m too OLD.” I can’t tell you how many emails I get from people that are like, “I’m in my 30’s.. or 40s… or 50s… or 60’s… or 70s.” I get every decade. And people say, “I’m too old to write, [and] start my writing career.” I’m like, “No, you’re not.” You can start at ANY point in time.

Did you know – I just found this out today – [that] Frank Mccourt, who wrote “Angelá’s Ashes”, which was this HUGE bestseller phenomenon, and [now] he’s gone on to write a trilogy, he was 66 years old when he published that book. He never published any book before that. He never published any book before that. He was 66, and he published it, and it was like an international phenomenon. So anyway, that’s for “not too old”.

Women, and family life especially,  Like, “Oh, I’m about to have a baby…. I just had a baby… We’re thinking about having a baby someday.” [laughter] You can still write. I wrote my first book when my third was four months old. I have a really good friend he is 30 weeks pregnant with HER third, [and] she’s writing her book now. She’s almost finished.  So there are ways [and] strategies to do the writing. So even if you feel like it’s not the right time in your life NOW, I would encourage you to mindset shift and say, “If this book can shift EVERYTHING in my life, why would I wait?”  So you may not feel like you have time now, but then ask yourself this question. “If this book can change my life, why would I wait?”

The last one that we tend to tell ourselves – even I do, as a writing coach who has written a book – [is], “I don’t know how to write a book.” Because it feels like this HUGE thing. You’re like, “I don’t even know where to start. I don’t how to how to write a book.” This is specific, of course, for people who ARE writing books, although it could apply to blog, these, dissertations, magazine articles, [or] whatever.  But to shift out of THIS mindset, LEARN. Go out and take a course, [and] read some books about how to do this writing, because I promise there are so many writers who have gone before you who have written their own books, and courses, and blogs, and whatnot, just to encourage you in your writing. So go out and find them.

In fact, in that Scope Notes that I was just mentioning earlier, I have written down some of my recommended books. Of course, one of them is MY book that I wrote, which is called “Start Writing Your Book Today : A Step-By-Step Plan To Write Your Non-Fiction Book From First Draft To Finished Manuscript”. But I’ve also got my favorite books from Sean Platt and Johnny Truant, who do “The Self-Publishing Podcast”. They wrote a book that’s great. Guy Kawasaki wrote a book that’s awesome really for authors who are also entrepreneurs. Steven Pressfield, whatever he writes is amazing. Jeffs Goins’ “You Are A Writer” [is] phenomenal. I love Jeff [laughter]. And Stephen King and William Zinsser, who are like legends in writing.

So if you are curious about what those books are, and where to find them, go to – in fact, I’ll go ahead and show you : http://www.paperravenediting.com/periscope . Let me flip you around so I can show you… [change of camera view to computer screen] So, see that. That’s my web site. And I just put this link up. Usually I put thumbnails here so that you can see where the YouTube replay is, but obviously I haven’t finished this Scope, so I can’t do that yet. But you see this “Top Writing Mindset Shifts”, and the broadcast date is today. If you click “Scope Notes” it goes to an Evernote file that I wrote my notes down in, and there’s some books with links to get you there. So that is always available for you. Let me show you that link one last time. Obviously I am still editing the page… [change of camera view to face view] That’s also where I keep [the] replays of my, sort of,  core foundational Scopes [that] I think will be really helpful for you guys.

So, writing is a confidence battle, and it is won or lost in your mind. Every day I feel like I have this confidence battle with whether or not I’m a writer. So just take this simple shift in mindset, and it will help you really start getting that word count out, and the writing done, and you can make some progress.

Ayesha, you had a question about being a lazy writer. So if you guys have any questions at this point this is a great time for me to start answering a couple of questions. I have about ten more minutes before I need to get back. But being a lazy writer and not explaining yourself well. So that usually comes from – honestly you have a lot of really expert knowledge in a subject… I think you’re writing a thesis or dissertation, right? So that happens a lot in academia – and it really happens in ANY industry. You spend so much time reading and learning in your own industry that you forget. You assume the writer can read your mind. Yes. You forget what’s worth explaining, and what’s NOT worth explaining. Honestly, I always recommend OVEREXPLAINING.

So starting from the very foundational stuff, what you can do is – especially if there’s a section that your reader has identified, like, “In this section you’re not explaining things well.”  Sort of, take it out. Take it out of the larger writing, and put it in its own document, and just, kind of, read it. Then scrap it. [laughter] You don’t actually have to throw it away, but, kind of, start over in a new document and pick someone to talk to. Say, “I’m going to explain this to someone who’s really INTERESTED in my topic, but just doesn’t know that much about it.” That could be a parent, a sibling, an aunt or uncle, a friend. And literally pretend that that person is listening to you, and you are going to write it out in just a really conversational, low-key, no pressure, explanation.  In fact, if you have difficulty with this you can CALL someone. Literally, pick up the phone and say, “I’m having a hard time with this section. Can I explain it to you, and you can tell me if it makes sense or not?” Just that getting new thoughts, new ways, new words, of explaining something will really help you go back when you return to rewrite it.  So in this new,  sort of, “pristine” document explain it like you’re talking to your mom or your friend. It’s going to be super simple, conversational language.

Then – once it’s down in that nice, easy language – you go back and you combine sentences, you take out irrelevant stuff, you polish it up then at THAT point.  Then AT LEAST you’ve explained everything. So I hope that, kind of, makes sense. Did you have any follow-up questions? Or does anyone else have any questions about writing, or anything? My goal – and I’ve said this before, and then I didn’t do it – is to Scope right around lunchtime Central U.S. time. So it’s like 11:30am here, and it’s nice and quiet at my house. The nanny’s got the kids out. They’re going to lunch, and playing, and doing that sort of stuff. So my house is beautifully quiet, and this is a great time to have a conversation with you guys about children running in and out of the door [chuckle].They DON’T usually, but sometimes they do.

So if you guys want to catch more Scopes on writing, hit the little Peri dude, click “follow”. I’m on Twitter at @morgangmac ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac ), the same handle. Thanks for the hearts, guys.  I really help this resonated with you. Go catch some of those Scope Notes, and if you have any follow-up questions feel free to catch me on Twitter, or whatever. I will see you guys tomorrow, if not sooner.

Okay. Bye. Go do some writing.


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