Scientific tips to boost writing performance for new writers

Your self-efficacy is strongly related to your writing performance as research has shown. In this article, I will share a list of micro- habits that actually work and help me improve self-efficacy and writing capability.

Photo by Jean-Louis Paulin on Unsplash

What is self-efficacy?

Self-efficacy was introduced by Albert Bandura as “people’s beliefs in their capabilities to exercise control over their own functioning and over events that affect their lives”. A self- efficacious person is one who believes that he or she has the power to control the outcome of a situation at least on some level. A person’s self-efficacy belief will affect how that person thinks, feels, and acts toward a situation. With a strong belief that they have the ability to influence the outcome of their performance, ones can be motivated and act in favor of their wanted outcome (such as setting higher goals planning effective learning strategies, and picking themself when things are rough). In another word, self-efficacy is the fuel that drives positive changes.

Photo by Alysha Rosly on Unsplash

Many researchers have been examining the correlation between people’s self—efficacy and their ability to enhance comprehension skills like writing. Writing self-efficacy can be defined as “writers’ beliefs about their abilities to generate ideas” as well as their “various composition, grammar, usage, and mechanical skills”. Before starting my blog as a side hustle, I could come up with a long list of benefits to show my writing online, but I even had a long list of excuses why I shouldn’t do that. The later list was a list full of fear which with the belief that “I was not good enough” and followed by other dozens of external impacts prevent me from writing. The list had done a good job to stop me from achieving my dream right from start.

Things have changed since I discovered the talk Why Self-Efficacy Matters” by Mamie Morrow. The discovery of the power of self — efficacy made me believe that I can control the outcome of my situation at least at some level. That belief changes my attitude toward almost everything and make me bravely go after what I desired as well as pick myself up when I failed. The talk also discusses 4 proven ways of improving a person’s self- efficacy namely personal successful experience, other people’s success, encouragements from others, and the ability to manage negative emotion. From these sources of motivation, I have been able to make a list of small and easy habits with the purpose to improve my writing self-efficacy as follows.

#1 Journaling every day

By journaling, a person can easily record and reflex on their personal success in each specific task, which is the first source of self-efficacy. Journaling every night brings in multiple benefits for my self-improvement as well as my writing. Firstly, journaling daily gives me a chance to practice writing daily and as a saying goes “practice makes perfect”, my writing is getting better. I first started journaling by answering a fixed list of questions about how my day went but now I like to express my feeling and thoughts freely in my journal. Secondly, by reflexing my process daily in my journal, I can observe how I grow, which boosts my confidence and reminds me that I have control of my progress toward my goals. Another benefit of a night-time journal is to build me a library of ideas. Since I started Matthew Dicks ‘s “homework for life” as a part of my night journal, I can capture many interesting ideas that are worth writing about, not to mention that the “homework” has helped improve my memory in some way.

#2 Follow other writers’ work and join a writing community

The second source of self-efficacy is to know that other people just like us had successfully accomplished the specific tasks. Many writers have shared their journey to success on Medium or other platforms. I like to follow their works, not to copy them but to see their achievements as the possible outcome if I stick long enough with writing. The great writers I have been following are Eric Barker, Seth Godin, Austin Kleon, Tim Denning,…

Mamie Morrow gave an interesting example of how other people’s success influences her self-efficacy and gave her encouragement to do a new scary challenge, diving. She told herself that if other people, who were also the first-time diver like her, could successfully finish the dive (and not die) she could do it safely as well. So, if you are a new writer, It will be helpful to join a writing community to see that many people just like you, stating out a journey from a fresh start and observe their effort to better themselves day by day.

#3 Change your perspective: Focus on your progress and what you can control.

Knowing how to manage your negative emotion is another way of boosting self-efficacy. Not just in writing journey, in many other skills that I want to execute, if I spend too much time only just thinking about where I am, where I want to be, and how far away I am from my goal, I will see how small I am and that demotivate me. Don’t get me wrong, of course, I know that having a clear goal and knowing our current situation is important for personal development. Analyzing the current situation is a must, I do that too. I have a set of SMART goals and an action plan to achieve them. However, What I do differently with my old self did is that I try to focus on the positive perspective of the situation. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the greatness of my goal and wondering if I can ever get there, I say thank you for myself to show up day after day and moving forward. By seeing myself moving forward, I know that I have control of the outcome of the journey and that sooner or later, I will get there. Having a SMART goal is like having a map to show me direction, checking my progress, and appreciating my effort for showing up is like the motivating fuel that keeps me moving.

“It isn’t suffering that leads to hopelessness. It’s suffering you think you can’t control.” — Angela Duckworth — Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Another shift from a negative to a positive perspective is that I focus on what I can control rather than what I cannot control. As a new writer, writing 2000 words every day maybe not be easy. Blaming the external impacts and giving up your fate to those excuses is an easy way to go but adjusting your situation to make your dream happen is the right way to do it. You don’t need to know everything at the beginning, just write and you can learn on the way.

Created by WholeHearted School Counseling

#4 Positive Affirmations

Receiving encouragement is one of the four sources of self-efficacy. As a new writer just starting out, you may not receive as much encouragement from readers and peers, what you can do is repeat positive affirmations to yourself often. Researches showed that positive affirmations are beneficial to one’s self-efficacy and physical performance. Since start writing, I often remind myself that “I am a good writer” and “I love writing”. By saying that often, it became easier for me to decide between playing with my phone or sitting down and writing.

Positive quotes

I will end my post here with a list of kind things to say to yourself every day.

  1. “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right” — Henry Ford
  2. “You’ve got to show up for long enough to see that writing has the power to do” — Tim Denning.

3. “When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won” ― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

4. “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit” — Banksy



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store