In my previous post, I discussed the importance of editing and provided suggestions on how to edit a manuscript for content and mechanics. I encouraged writers to review their work with a critical eye and to study the elements of writing in order to better edit their own work. The mindset of a writer when editing should be sharp, critical, and detail-oriented. Now, for this post, let’s take the writer back, back, back in time–way back–maybe two or three years ago to when they first starting drafting their novel. Would said writer have the same mindset then? Absolutely not, nor should they. The mindset a writer takes on when drafting should be entirely different than when editing. It should be loose and free and willing to . . . LET IT GO!
Okay, we’ve all seen the movie Frozen or heard of it at least, and if you didn’t choose to watch it, your children probably watch it a dozen or more times a day. So since we’re all pretty familiar with the movie and the characters, let me use them to further elaborate on the topic of writer’s mindsets.
Consider the character Elsa. She is the heir of a fairy tale kingdom known as Arendale and big sister to the lovable and oftentimes dorky princess Anna. But she has a secret, a dangerous power that threatens the safety of her family and her kingdom–ice magic. Okay, it doesn’t sound too scary until you realize she almost kills her sister twice with it. For the good of the kingdom and her sister, she is forced to hide her powers until she can control them. Only she doesn’t learn how to control them because they focus on simply training her to conceal them. Her powers are exposed at a party and she is forced to flee into the mountains to avoid further injury and becoming the villain everyone thinks she is. Then, and only then, is she finally able to “Let it Go” and experience the full extent of her powers.
So, what the heck does Frozen and Elsa have to do with the writer’s mindset? Everything.
In the beginning of the movie, Elsa is very uptight, critical, and restrained. She is constantly picking at her sister and calling her out for logical fallacies such as this:
Does this remind you of anyone? No, not your big sister. Your inner editor! So worried about perfection, doing things right, and preventing the world from knowing you suck at writing, your inner editor is just like pre-liberated Elsa, more popularly known as Queen Elsa.
But we don’t want to channel queen Elsa when we’re drafting our novel. No, we want to take off the gloves, let our hair down, and “Let it Go” like post-liberated Elsa, otherwise known as Elsa, Queen of Ice and Snow.
In order to successfully complete the first draft, you have to feel–don’t conceal–and let the words just flow. The critical mindset is your worst enemy and can stifle your creativity and emotional catharsis, so write with reckless abandon! Build a freaking ice castle! If you want singing snowmen in your novel, write them in. Who cares if you end up cutting them out later. Just focus on writing a story that inspires you. Then put your teal gloves on and invite Queen Elsa to pick it apart.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. I had a ton of fun writing it. But before you go, please take a moment to leave a comment below telling me which Elsa best represents your mindset when you write. It’s just for fun. Nothing serious, but I want to know what kind of a writer you are. Do you conceal, don’t feel or do you LET IT GO?
As always, thank you for stopping by! Stay tuned for more fun, nerdy, writing posts ahead!