5 Positive Mindset Rules for Successful Authors
Writing good books isn’t just about getting the words down on the page. That’s a huge part of being an author, obviously, but even more important is maintaining a positive mindset. When your career, life, and rent depend on you producing words, you can’t let a ‘down day’ get in your way.
In this article, we’ll go over five key rules you need to follow to have a successful mindset in your author-business.
1. Don’t Compete With Other Authors
One of the hardest parts about working in an industry like self-publishing is you can see what almost every other author is doing. It’s easy to either calculate or hear about another author’s awesome book sales.
Comparing yourself to other authors happens, even when you know that you shouldn’t be doing it.
Not only do you compare yourself to other authors in the bestseller lists, but as a writer, you might be part of a Facebook group dedicated to self-publishers. You also more than likely follow other writers in your space on Twitter and Instagram–maybe they have a YouTube channel and you watch that too. Sometimes it can be almost impossible not to come across the success of other authors.
Your job as an author isn’t to compare yourself to others. It’s to write.
When you think about it, putting emphasis on your competition is a huge waste of time and mental energy. You don’t know how long they’ve been in the business, and you don’t see all their struggles along the way. When you see an author talk about their bestsellers, you don’t see any of their setbacks. You get their highlights. Only they know about the blooper reel.
The funny thing is, the author you’re comparing yourself to is probably comparing themselves to someone else. It’s an endless game, and you just can’t win. So I say don’t play at all.
Rather than compare your success to that of another, focus on self-improvement. You can’t expect yourself to be better than everyone, but you can expect to be better than you were yesterday. Try journaling as a way to consistently reflect on your progress and avoid groups and people who bring about comparison.
2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
While forging a full-time career is an amazing achievement, it isn’t the healthiest career choice–especially if you’re stuck in a chair all day long, staring at a screen. Sure, compared to a lot of physical jobs, writing seems safe–it’s not like you’re laying bricks all day. You need to think of it this way though: humans weren’t made to sit at a desk for hours every day.
Just consider the main health issues for authors that Joanna Penn mentions in her book The Healthy Writer (some of these may be familiar to you):
- Back pain
- Weight gain
- Sleep problems
- Neck pain
- Stress-related injuries
- Digestive issues
A lot of these problems stem from sitting at a desk all day long. To combat these potential health issues, keep fit and active. Besides all these health issues, exercise will get you in the right mindset for success.
Exercise is believed to improve mood, focus, and memory too. You don’t need to go out and run a half-marathon every day. Only thirty minutes of exercise a day can do the trick for you. If you’re not used to exercising daily, start with going for a walk and build from there. You can workout at home too, either with equipment or a range of bodyweight exercises will be effective too.
Personally, I like to do my exercise in the morning to start the day off on the right foot.
3. Repeat Daily Affirmations
An affirmation is simply a positive thought that can help combat self-defeating beliefs. The basic idea is you repeat these thoughts to yourself on a regular basis and you start to believe them.
This isn’t just some self-help, pie-in-the-sky theory either. There’s been quite a lot of work around building your sense of self through affirmations.
It’s best to use affirmations that combat negative self-beliefs you might have about your skills as a writer. Below is a list of great resources you can look at to gain some inspiration when choosing your own:
- 11 affirmations successful people use every day
- 10 affirmations for creative writers
- 60 affirmations for authors, writers, and poets
If repeating affirmations to yourself isn’t your thing, there are apps out there for it. One of the most popular choices is ThinkUp, which lets you record affirmations in your own voice and play them back along with music.
4. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
While it’s valuable to spend time with people who know nothing about your writing business (I use it as a great way to switch off), you do need friends who know what you’re going through.
The thing is, there’s so much that is unique about running your own author business. There’s a lot that people who aren’t writers can’t empathize with. As a writer, your success will largely depend on your ability to be creative. You don’t have any co-workers to talk to or brainstorm with.
Luckily, almost every other self-published author is in a similar situation. And now there’s a range of different avenues to find other authors. Meetup.com is a great tool where people can start or join local meetups for special interest groups. Odds are, if you live in a city, there will be some meetups organized for authors–and if there isn’t, why not start one?
There are also a bunch of different online avenues for finding other authors to connect with. Facebook groups and online forums often cater to writers in your genre. All you have to do to find them is type in the following:
- Your genre “forum”
You can also listen to more author-podcasts, these podcasts will have other authors discussing their craft along with their challenges. Which, when you can’t find other authors to connect with, may be good enough!
When you’re online though, remember that you don’t want to focus too much on the success of others, as we spoke about above. Instead, form connections with other authors.
5. Recharge Your Writer Brain
One of the most important things to do as a writer is to take time off.
Go out for a walk, grab a coffee with a friend, head to the beach–anything that takes your mind off the grind of writing and staring at numbers and graphs when analyzing your ad-spend.
And if you really want to get crazy, take some time off! Do you know what’ll happen if you take a day or two off from writing? Nothing! Sure, you don’t want to be taking too much time away, but everything will still be waiting for you when you get back.
There was a time when I’d feel guilty if I was out of the house and not working. I’d be at the beach or hiking with family, and I couldn’t appreciate the moment because my mind was focused on my work. Now, things are a bit different and I enjoy spending time with my kids away from my business–but it was something I had to work toward.
The same goes for if you’re writing business is more of a side-hustle. If you’ve worked a huge day at your regular job, take a night off. There are so many people out there blogging and publishing videos, talking about working insane hours and ‘hustling.’ It can almost feel like if you’re not working 20-hour days, you’re failing. You shouldn’t think like that. Take rest when you need it. You’ll likely find your writing speeds up after taking some time to clear your head.
Your mindset as an author will either make or break you. Make sure you keep a good balance, get the rest you need, and keep active to make sure you’re working at your best all-year round. Self-care should be a big part of your writing business.
Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash