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What is a creative mindset?

Updated: 13 hours ago

I love being a creative person. I like coming up with story ideas. I like the physical act of writing words down onto a piece of paper or typing them into a computer. I like talking about writing and reading what other people write.

However, despite what many people think, being creative is not a naturally occurring state of being. 

Often people make assumptions that if a person is a writer, they were born a writer, that ink flows through their veins, their grammar is always perfect, and they always told the best stories at the sleepovers.

And as much as I envision myself as a “true writer” who spends my days floating around my home in a flowy robe with my laptop and contemplating the perfect sentence, I don’t always get a chance to do that. Sometimes I have to assemble lectures, grade my students papers, attend events for my kids, or drop everything I am doing to rush someone to the doctor. My mindset is not always in a creative space.

A few years back, I started a new job as a full-time instructor at a university teaching composition to freshmen. I was so busy that I had to drop out of my writing group. I was so busy, I stopped soliciting representation for my novel. It was growing cobwebs on the shelf. And as much as I appreciated the work and loved-- continue to love-- teaching, there was a moment about three months in where I was walking across campus after a full day of teaching and thought, “Oh my God, what if this is it?!” I hadn’t written anything new in months. I wasn’t even journaling. As much as I was envisioning myself aging into my crone era college lecturer with silver hair and a sharp wit, I could not bear the idea that I was done as a writer. I wasn’t done being a writer. But I also wasn’t writing. See the problem?

I needed a plan to get back in the creative mindset. 

A person in the mirror with a post it over their face. The post it reads "This is What A Writer Looks Like"

What is the creative mindset? 

Essentially, it is the process of getting rid of the multiple blocks that the nervous brain develops that keeps people from writing. Often people want to write, want to tell their story, but they don’t because the brain develops these ideas that block actions – things like needing more time, needing more money, needing more education, or even needing to change essential things about themselves and their life. 

But the biggest lie that the brain tells tentative or out of practice writers is, “Someone like you, can’t be a writer.” 

That is a lie. Because artists can be anyone and can come from anywhere.

I struggled to locate female author role models growing up: predominantly seeing authors like Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, Mary Higgins Clark, or even fictional author heroines like Joan Wilder in mass media. These were glamorous women with money, connections, famous siblings, who lived in big cities. I was none of those things. I grew up on a farm. I had zero connections. I had to beg to go to the library. And I say all that in full awareness of my privilege. Authors of color are under-represented. Female authors of color are under-represented. And even when they do burst through their blocks and all the systemic barriers designed that gatekeep them, they are still under-represented in awards, in tenured teaching positions, and in spots at the major bookseller locations.  

So confronting that idea of “Who am I to be a writer?” is bigger than just deciding you want it and going for it. It has a lot to do with confronting false narratives and learning how to validate oneself. 

And if you have spent most of your life dreaming about writing a story, a poetry collection, a play, or a novel and the world tells you that it’s a waste of time – that is a block that needs to be broken. 

Because your story, poetry, play, or novel is valid. And it is not a waste of time.

When I decided it was worth it, and that I was not done being a writer, I developed a system for myself to start living like a writer, even when sometimes I needed to switch hats and be an educator, a mother, a volunteer, or a devoted spouse. I had to tell myself it was worth it when getting rejection letters, I had to schedule writing sessions on my lunch break, I had to set up boundaries for my time, and I had to show up for self-imposed deadlines. I had to convince myself that what I was doing mattered even if the world was not knocking down my door asking for me to create. 

And my system worked. Since I began working on my creative mindset, I have finished more projects, published more, connected with more writers, and accomplished many of the items on my list of how a “real writer” lives.

How did I do it? 

It wasn’t a one and done resolution. It wasn’t a quick fix. It was a process. And it was a fun process.

I will pass this nugget along:

There is a writer’s tip that I come across every once and a while that says, “Keep the tap on.” The idea is you stop your writing for the day in the middle of a sentence so when you return to it the next day, you can pick up right where you left off, already in the flow. 

By bursting through the creative blocks, you will develop systems for yourself to help keep the tap of your creativity on. When you keep the tap open, you never have to worry about turning it back on. You never have to worry about starting over. It just exists, a constant flow that drives you to write things and to prioritize that time writing because it is fun and because you love it. And that is enough. 

I am putting together an online course offering a variety of tips and tricks about breaking through creative blocks, accepting yourself as a writer, organizing your time and materials, and creating a community of other writers to develop the support system that will encourage you to keep going even when the doubting part of your brain tells you to stop. 

The course opens on July 23, but preorders are available now!

As a gift to all who pre-order, I am offering an instant download that includes a short list of activities that you can start doing to get you ready for the course! These are not requirements, but a nice little warm up to fuel your creative fire!!

I can't wait to help you break through those creative blocks!

Read Books. Wear Boots.



A woman in the mirror with a post it covering her face. It reads This is What a Writer Looks Like!

Sign up for This is What A Writer Looks Like! A Creative Mindset Online Course, Enroll today! Get ready to get your creative mind right!


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