Who controls your writing results, otherwise known as locus of control and attributions, is a key question for authors to ask and can reinforce a lifelong writing habit.
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”Cora L.V. Hatch (1859)
Where is your locus of control?
No, I’m not talking about your gravitational center (something that seems to drop lower and lower with age). I’m talking about where you attribute the control and results you’re getting in life.
Research shows that individuals who internally attribute their results are more likely to believe they can change their circumstances and reach their goals than people who blame outside factors for their successes and failures. “If it is to be, it is up to me!” The strongest correlation is between the effort you put into a task and the task outcome.
What does this have to do with us as authors?
External locus of control/attributions – “I haven’t finished writing my book because everyone keeps taking up my time, I don’t have a minute to myself, things just keep happening beyond my control.”
Internal: “I am the only one who controls my schedule. Saying no to less important priorities might feel uncomfortable and require difficult conversations. It might involve a short term sacrifice of something that is less important to me than writing my book. But I am in control of this choice to reach my goal.”
See the difference? When you put yourself wholly in charge of your outcomes by taking power away from external influences, you feel more empowered to make things happen.
It really is the best type of power trip!
- Tune your self awareness into the language you use to attribute your positive and negative outcomes as an author.
- Try a 1 week journaling experiment where you make note of the reasons you give for your outcomes (go beyond your author ones and include everything if you want!).
- Mark “i” for internal attributions (I said “no” to a less important thing so the important thing got done), and “e” for external ones (the dog ate my homework).
- Notice how your internal vs. external attributions impact your progress toward your goals.
PS: Whether you are just starting to develop your book idea, you’re in the process of writing your book and need help getting it done, or you have a complete rough draft in need of expert analysis, NOW is the time to get on my calendar and start the New Year strong!