Writers–Do You Make These 4 Painful Mistakes?

Posted on September 26, 2013

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ImageAlthough there are technically no rules for the writing process, there are definitely mistakes writers can (and inevitably will) make. The biggest problem comes when we don’t even realize these mistakes are problems. Here is a list of a few errors you could be making and not even recognizing. 

1.      Forgetting to have fun

This sounds simple, but I’m serious. It’s far too easy when you’re caught up in an “I have to write” mentality to treat writing as a cumbersome responsibility. Yes, whether you’re getting paid or not yet, if you want to be published, you do have to treat your writing as a job. However, if you lose your passion, then your piece will lack power to capture attention, motivate, inspire and instruct. If you’re not having fun, how can you expect your readers to enjoy your book? Ultimately, having fun is an important component of finishing your book. If you fail to enjoy the journey, your drive will dwindle and you may delay the publication process, if not forego it altogether.

2.      Overworking yourself

If you become intent on writing to the point that you fail to make time for other interests or to relax, your creativity will likely suffer. Just like any other activity, writing requires regular breaks. Walk away from the computer and focus on something else. Give yourself a mental break and do something physical, even a short walk. This gives you time to reassess your approach, brainstorm further ideas, and find clarity. Not to mention, it gives you a moment to relax, de-stress, and remember why you chose to write in the first place. Going for long hours without rest isn’t going to do your health or your book any favors.

3.      Neglecting your writing

Too often writers (including myself) complain they are not “in the mood” to write. The funny thing is that there is no rhyme or reason to this “mood” and writers rarely seem to attempt to do anything to encourage it. Instead they complain and refuse to write that day. And the next. And the next.

The worst thing you can do to yourself as a writer is to ignore your piece, and especially your writing skill itself, for any period of time.  The best way to become better at writing—and, ironically, to discover this “writing mood” more often—is to write on a regular basis. Making it a habit will perfect your skills, expedite the book-writing process, and make the work as a whole more enjoyable.

Don’t make excuses. Don’t wait for a “mood.” Even if you only take 5 minutes, write. Write worthless, rambling garbage if you have to. It’s better to keep going than to hit the brakes, because once you pause, it’s much harder to continue.

4.      Measuring yourself by others

It’s oft-repeated advice: reading helps writing. However, occasionally it can be a hindrance. How? Have you ever picked up a book by a famous, well-respected author and then found yourself discouraged about your own writing? Have you ever dreamt of emulating your favorite writer yet told yourself that this hope is unattainable?

Don’t get caught up in comparing your writing with that of other authors. We’re all our own worst critics; your writing may be better than you give yourself credit for. If you’re working on your rough draft, it’s much too early to worry about how your writing sounds or looks, especially in relation to final, edited drafts. No one’s first draft is perfect, and everyone has a unique style. Focus on getting your words down and the fine-tuning will come later.

If you feel less talented than others, use their abilities as a goal and encouragement instead.  Remind yourself that with practice, editing, and revision, you can have a great book someday too. As you write more, you’ll continue to learn and improve.

So have you caught yourself making any of these mistakes? Every author has probably found himself facing at least one at one point or another. To avoid them, you need to be aware of them and the reasons why they are detrimental to your writing. Then take action to counter the temptation of falling into any of these habits. Good luck, writer!

Rachel Schade, Writer, Editor, and Publishing Coordinator, Asta Publications

http://www.astapublications.com

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

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Posted in: Publishing