Peggy Bechko: The Writer’s Mindset

by Peggy Bechko

Being a writer is not easy, no matter what kind of writer you are. There’s a certain Mindset one needs to develop when one decides one is definitely a writer.

What, you say, might that be? Well, it consists of many facets in fact, things we need to get implanted in our brains that bolster us and keep us moving forward to be successful.

Want some examples? Of course you do.

A writer needs to be curious, open and engaged. Check out the details of life. They do come in handy when creating characters and settings.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel as my Granny would say – tell people you’re a writer. Write, a lot. Don’t hesitate to say what you do when asked. Of course don’t shove it at folks when they aren’t interested.

Accept criticism. Yep, from everyone and everywhere. You’re going to get it. Now, that doesn’t mean you rewrite at a drop of a hat. It means you consider what’s said and see how it would affect what you’ve written, then decide if that rewrite is warranted. But, whatever you do, don’t get angry at the criticism and reject it out of hand. There can be some real nuggets there.

Always, always think of your readers whether they be editors at a publishing house or readers of scripts that could lead to producers. What’s your message? What story are you trying to get across. How do you think they’re reacting? Are you making assumptions? Are they right? Take risks with your writing. Don’t be afraid to shock your readers.

Learn to live with a passion that encourages yourself to expose yourself to new experiences and break out of your comfort zone. It can be big. It can be small. I have a husband who has a fear of heights. He’s worked on it and now climbs ladders. He calls that change euphoric. If you’ve experienced amazing new things or have broken out of an old fear how does it make you feel? How would that affect a character in a script or a book?

Know when to walk away. Have an idea that won’t quite gel? Have you worked on it excessively, turned it every angle you could and it still won’t work into the story you want? Maybe it’s time to walk away and begin anew. A fresh idea could be what you need to push forward. Yes, work with an idea, but don’t allow it to become your one and only to the point of blocking out other, better ideas.

Be yourself and keep yourself fit. You don’t want to turn into a ‘toad’ writer sitting behind a desk all the time, never moving, never treating your body right. You remember, that body that feeds and supports your brain. A fit body leads to a clear and creative mind. Believe me, it’s true.

Time to face your fears, recognize them and come out on top. Writers are prone to fear of rejection, fear of derision, fear of the ability to complete what they start, fear the next won’t be as good as the last, fear they’ll never get produced/published/whatever. It just seems to go with the territory. Look inside. Any of these, or others, you? Realize it and come up with your own personal way of dealing with it. Believing in yourself as a writer is one of them. Find your way. Do it.

Here’s a last thought for you. Picasso said “Every act of creation is first of all an action of destruction.” The takeaway was, destroy something regularly. Did a scene not work? A chapter is sludgy? Want to throw your coffee mug across the room? (that one’s up to you.) Tear some aspect of that idea or the writing to support it apart. Put it back together – or not. From that Picasso tells up something new will spring. Something even better. I tend to agree.

And finally, never, never give up. You may be ridiculed, criticized and told you’re just not good enough. But, if this is what you really want, own that writer’s mindset and never give up.

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.