Scientific tips to boost writing performance for new writer
Your self- efficacy is strongly related to your writing performance as research shown. In this article, I will share a list of micro- habits that actually work and help me improve self-efficacy and writing capability.
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 the one who believe that he or she has the power to control of the outcome of a situation at least in some level. A person’s self- efficacy belief will affect how that person think, feel, and act toward a situation. With a strong belief that they have ability to influence the outcome of their performance, ones can be motivated and act in favour toward their wanted outcome (such as setting higher goals planning effective learning strategies, and picking their self when things are rough). In another word, self- efficacy is fuel that drive positive changes.
Many researchers have been examining the correlation of 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 longer 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 following 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 proved ways of improving a person’s self- efficacy namely personal successfully 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 follow.
#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 fix list of questions about my how my day went but now I like to express my feeling and thoughts freely on my journal. Secondly, by reflexing my process daily in my journal, I can observe how I grow, which boosts my confident and reminds me that I have control of my progress toward my goals. Another benefit of night-time journal is to build myself a library of ideas. Since I started my Matthew Dicks ‘s “home work for life” as a part of my night journal, I can capture many of interesting ideas that worth writing about, not to mention that the “home work” 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 encourage to do a new scary challenge, diving. She told herself that if other people, who was also the first-time diver like her, could successfully finished 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 fresh start and to observer their effort to better themselves day by day.
#3 Change your perspective: Focus on your progress and what you can control.
Know 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 are important for personal development. Analysing the current situation is a must, I do that to. 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 to the positive perspective of the situation. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the greatness of my goal and wonder if I can ever get there, I say thank you for myself to show up day after day and move forward. By seeing myself moving forward, I know that I have the 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 appreciate my effort for showing up is like the motivate fuel that keep 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 negative to positive perspective is that I focus on what I can control rather than what I cannot control. As a new writer, writing 2000 words everyday may be not easy. Blaming the external impacts and giving up your fate to those excuses is 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.
#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 to repeat positive affirmations to yourself often. Researches showed that positive affirmation are beneficial 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 write.
I will end my post here with a list of kind things to say to yourself every day.
- “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right” — Henry Ford
- “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