If this week’s focus on attitude sounds a lot like last week’s topic – writitude – you’re both right and wrong.
Writitude, which is being grateful for the gift of writing, definitely is an attitude choice. As such, we did indeed delve into certain attitudinal side effects, including being a snob and being what my British friends might call a “moody git.” But there are so many other kinds of attitudes a writer can have and so many ways to analyze them.
That’s why famous poet and writer Maya Angelou has been quoted as saying, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Fellow author John C. Maxwell once said, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
And scientist Hans Selye weighed in with, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
Though I might like Winston Churchill’s definition of this inner power and outer expression the most: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
I’m hardly going to compare myself with Winston Churchill about any such thing when his attitude got him through a bloody world war and I’ve never had to experience any such thing. But let’s try out an Innovative Editing Definition of the term all the same.
This is your inner determination about a subject matter, whether a person, place, thing or concept. Neither inherently good nor bad, it’s completely up to you how you want to handle it.
In the case of writing, as with the rest of life, you have a long list of potential attitudes to choose from. Are you going to have a positive outlook on the writing process or a negative one? Will you view it as an opportunity to learn and help? Or do you have something much more miserable or miserly up your ink-stained sleeve?
It's writer’s choice out of an overwhelming assortment of mix-and-match ready options. Including:
Determined – It doesn’t matter what obstacles the writing process or life in general throws at you; you’re going to achieve your publishing goals no matter what. (Winston Churchill would doubtlessly approve of this one.)
Teachable – You recognize you’re not perfect and can therefore stand to learn a thing or two from your fellow writers.
Arrogant – See yesterday’s blog post for a more detailed explanation of just how arrogant a writer can be. This attitude choice involves you placing yourself and your writing up on a pedestal to some degree.
Naïve – Want to get your little writing heart broken or your dreams of financial publishing success stolen? Then this is the attitude for you.
Impatient: You’ve got the first draft of your manuscript. You’ve got your second draft. And maybe you’ve got your third. Then it’s ready to be published. You’ve done enough.
Fatalistic – There’s no way you’re going to make it. No way. Your writing isn’t that good. And even if it was, your manuscript wouldn’t ever be noticed in the crowded publishing world. And even if a miracle did happen and you actually got a contract, the public wouldn’t understand you anyway.
Adventurous – The writing process is fascinating, and you’re going to enjoy it for all its worth!
We’ll explore where your attitude choice can take you on Friday. And we’ll study their less tangible benefits on Thursday.
In the meantime, take a moment or two to analyze your attitude right now. What do you think it says about your writing? And what does it say about you?