The Writer's Mindset

monsterchic

Captain Satanpants
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
413
Location
Wisconsin
#1
I find that as a writer, certain things come easier for me. For an Economics class I'm taking right now, we have an assignment which is basically world building (sci-fi, at that!).

Some of the other people in class are complaining about how hard it is to create a plan to keep the crew of a wrecked spaceship alive on a rocky planet with a harsh environment, and I'm sitting here saying, "Ooh, this is fun. What can I do with this? Man, this would make a good story." This is also a problem because I'm making it probably WAY too detailed for my teacher's taste :D

Do you think a writer's mindset helps with certain tasks? If so, which ones? Conversely, is there anything that it's a hindrance to for anyone else?
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
7,147
Location
West Sussex
#2
Hmm. I'm not sure the mindset is unique to writers, though that is a good training ground. Long before I came here and started writing in self defence I was using the visualisation talent, and the functional analysis talent, to work out electronic circuits or feel the signal flow through a console or complete recording chain. These same talents, tendencies or whatever are very useful in writing, but are they the 'writing mindset'?

It's surely not related to putting words together. That's more a gift for a politician, organising speeches. More a question of hypothesising the life, family and forthcoming crises of the guy opposite you on the train. Apart from policeman, I can't see how that integrates into another profession. Possibly working out experiments to recognise and interrogate a Higgs boson.

But just about any piece of information from any field can be used in writing SFF. So I'd say anything can enrich a writing mindset – remember and synthesise.
 

TheDustyZebra

Aspiring notaphilist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
8,732
Location
Colorado
#3
I think it's both a help and a hindrance, for the same reasons. You can put so much more into something when you're able to think in depth, but on the other hand, you can spend far more time at something than is strictly necessary, just because you're thinking in depth.

My son had an assignment (and I keep calling it a project, which goes to show that I think of it as a larger thing than he does) involving the book his class is reading, "The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963". He was supposed to plan a family trip based on the route the family in the book took, from Flint, MI to Birmingham, AL, with a budget of $1000 and a time limit of three days. I advised him to find things along the way that he would want to see, and do, and plan accordingly -- the trip itself, these days, only takes 11 hours, so there is plenty of time and money to spare in that scenario. I started looking at maps, and poking around, and then I made myself stop, realizing that (obviously) I wasn't doing the assignment for him, and it certainly wasn't MY assignment, and no matter how much fun it might be, I didn't need to do it. Meanwhile, he handed in what I considered to be a minimal amount of information, didn't do any sight-seeing along the way, and got 100%. I would have written ten pages and included maps and a slideshow, and probably written a story about it for something else -- and gotten 100%.

More is not necessarily better.
 

monsterchic

Captain Satanpants
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
413
Location
Wisconsin
#4
Dusty, I would have done the same as you (and probably failed...my teachers tend not to read much of my assignments because they're long usually :)). As it was, I had a terrible time not handing in a twenty page story along with my economic plan for the planet. Like Chrispy says--I just got to hypothesizing and boom! Suddenly all these great ideas started popping up and I could barely concentrate on the actual assignment anymore.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Supporter
Joined
Oct 5, 2011
Messages
16,601
Location
blah - flags. So many flags.
#5
I like that my brain works differently when writing than the rest of the time but I bring my professional attributes to it - focus, time-keeping, organisation, problem-solving. But my day job has limited creativity and I look to writing for that
 

tinkerdan

candycane shrimp
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
3,904
Location
x(squared)+y(squared)=r(squared) : when x~infinity
#9
What you describe could be considered a hindrance in writing. Luckily we have a thing called editing that fixes that.

I agree that sometimes less is better and we have to learn the reign it in a bit. But again that is only necessary on the editing part of the task. It's always fun to just run with everything you get and it doesn't hurt just don't turn that one in as a final paper till you have had a chance to let sanity settle in.
 

TheDustyZebra

Aspiring notaphilist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
8,732
Location
Colorado
#10
But it's still a hindrance when it's something that doesn't need to take that much of your time and you spend all that time on it. If you have to go back and edit it all out, that's even more time. :)

(When I say "you", I mean "me", of course.)
 

tinkerdan

candycane shrimp
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
3,904
Location
x(squared)+y(squared)=r(squared) : when x~infinity
#11
The main scariness of fear of losing time on an edit would be that someone might infer from that an attempt to write perfect the first draft. That seems a bit daft. At least for me it would be. I know I'm going to have to edit the daylights out of it so I might as well put as much into as is flowing out the end of my fingers.

I write first for me. Then I edit for everyone else.
 

Similar threads

Top