I often doubt whether I will ever be a “real writer.” I am much in need of practice, and I feel guilty about all of the basic writing skills I “should” know but never applied myself to learn. Why did I even start blogging if I feel my writing is so inadequate? My primary reason is that I believe God wants me to blog, and I know I will never grow my skills unless I practice. The internet can be a pretty intimidating place to practice, but it takes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to get an outsider’s perspective on my work.
Lately I have been reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, and while I can’t condone everything in the book, or any human-made book for that matter, I am learning many valuable lessons. Throughout the book, the author contrasts a growth mindset with a fixed mindset using various anecdotes and examples. I have been so guilty of having a fixed mindset about many things in my life, especially areas I felt accomplished in as a child. My writing was one of those areas.
My Writing Background
I have always loved reading and writing stories. As young as 3 or 4 years old I remember imagining that someone somewhere was reading the story of my life to other children. I even had a narrator in my head giving a play by play of all of my childish adventures, both real and imagined. My love of stories continued throughout my childhood. Throughout my teen years, for fun, I wrote a series of short stories detailing the adventures of fictitious twin sisters for my twin cousins.
The problem came when I was required to write in more realistic applications. I didn’t like the way struggling felt and did anything I could to get out of it. (My senior “term paper” was a well-researched historical fiction journal of a girl traveling on a ship to settle in Pennsylvania.)
When I entered college I was in for a huge shock. I was placed in the grammar and composition course–the lowest level English course offered. As the class progressed, I became convinced that I could never be a writer in the real world and immediately gave up on ever taking any non-required writing classes. Was the content really that difficult? No, I just thought I should know all these things naturally if I was gifted, so I wasn’t willing to do the work to change. My writing did improve some through college, mostly due to practice, and I somehow survived all of my graduate level research papers.
Why I Can’t Stop Writing
After I graduated I ignored my writing except for the occasional love note or journal entry. But I am discovering that I need to write almost as much as I need to eat and breathe. I write because reflection is an important part of who I am. Because I need to sort through the tangle of ideas, inspirations, and questions in my brain. Because my writing still organizes and communicates those ideas more effectively than talking, and I am a lot nicer person when I can write out my less pleasant thoughts (just ask my Dad).
In this season of life when I can’t distract myself from the jumble of thoughts in my head with more physical tasks, writing has allowed me to find purpose and to find areas I can grow in. But as I sit here struggling to write out my thoughts in blog post form, that fixed mindset voice still whispers,”Real writers are naturally good at sharing Ideas. You will never be a real writer.”
But a stronger voice reminds me that I write because I believe that God wants me to share what I am learning and to continue growing--even if I am not the next mega-blogger.
How My MBTI Helped Me Find a Personal Growth Outlet (Reflective Homemaker)
What Having a Growth Mindset Actually Means (Harvard Business Review)
How about you? Is there a talent that you never fully developed because it stopped coming naturally? What areas do you struggle with a fixed mindset? What areas can you start applying a growth mindset to today?