Book Review: The Pro Writer Mindset by Jennifer Blanchard
I’m going to start this review in an odd place; by saying that the thing that kept coming to my mind most often while reading this book was a quote from The LEGO Movie:
“Believe! I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true!”
I’ve never been an ‘imagine your way to success’ kind of person. But that’s not what this book is about, or rather, that’s not ALL that this book is about. Yes, there’s a certain amount of ‘live your success’ in here, but there’s also a lot of really terrific advice which boils down to ‘get off your butt and go GET that success’. Or rather, because we’re writers, ‘park your butt in that chair and damn well WRITE your way to that success!’
Jennifer’s idea of mindset isn’t wishy-washy, airy-fairy thinking. It’s about self-belief and hard work combining to pay real dividends in terms of being as successful as you want to be, and she provides a whole stack of amazing tools for you to get yourself out there and win that success.
Maybe my wildest dreams are too big for me to ever believe in the possibility (“I want to be a more influential book blogger than Oprah AND sell more books than JK Rowling!” really ain’t gonna happen) but that doesn’t mean that working my ass off can’t get me to some more realistic goals… or maybe even interim goals, on my way to that future One Day.
Top 10,000 reviewer on Amazon? Absolutely possible. Bestselling author in my own right? Damn nearly made that one this year and I WILL get there next year.
These are the kind of goals that Jennifer encourages you not only to set, but to act as though you’ve already achieved. Act as though thousands of people are reading and influenced by your book reviews. Act as though you’re already a bestselling author.
Jennifer doesn’t pull her punches. She’s not here telling you that it’s going to be easy. This isn’t “If you build it, they will come.”
“It's tough--this being a professional writer stuff. When you write as a hobby, you don't have to worry about how much writing you get done, but when you're an authorpreneur, you can't lose focus. You have to know what you want, be very clear on it and specific about it, and then take action.”
Jennifer gives lots of great exercises to help you understand exactly what it is you want, too, and exactly what you need to do about it. Here’s an example, I really like this one and will be doing it myself:
“Pro Writer Mindset Exercises
1. What's the purpose of your writing? Why do you write? What's the intention behind whatever writing project you're currently working on? Grab your journal and explore these questions.
2. Set a deadline--for something. Could be a blog post, a book, a first draft, whatever you want. Just pick a writing project and set a deadline. Then get to work and finish what you start, because pro writers finish.”
She talks about the antagonists in a pro writer’s life: Fear, Doubt, Distractions, Resistance and the Upper Limit Problem, and she very clearly defines methods to beat these demons of doubt. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to one hard truth.
“Pros show up, day in and day out, and do the work. Inspired or uninspired. Feeling like writing or not feeling like writing. You can think like a pro all you want, but until you use those pro thoughts to springboard you into taking pro actions, you're still an amateur.”
If you’re a writer, or an aspiring writer, this book should absolutely be on your reference bookshelf, and you should absolutely read it thoroughly and follow through on the tactics Jennifer shares in it, to write your way to being a successful author.