Hard work, passion and imagination are the key ingredients you need to succeed in writing. Along the way, however, you’ll make mistakes and have your ups and downs. But most mistakes won’t break your career, as long as you learn from them.
If you’re still a newbie and want to become one of the best, you should definitely avoid these common mistakes that even prolific writers commit sometimes.
Prolixity or wordiness is a common mistake new writers often make. It happens when writers use too many words or abstract words. They commit it, intentionally or unintentionally. Either way, it can detract from the quality of your writing while frustrating your readers.
To avoid it, get rid of filler words, such as “really,” “actually,” “just,” “so,” and several others. They may be relevant but they are sometimes useless. If they serve no purpose, leave them out to improve the sentence.
Another cause of wordiness is redundancy. New writers may include redundant information or words. For example, if you describe someone, you may say: “Liza is a funny, comical girl”. In this sentence, you’re using two words that mean the same thing.
Apart from redundant words, redundant information can make your content wordy by saying the same thing many times, but the readers aren’t learning anything new. You may write it differently, but they still contain the same details.
Qualifiers, too, must go. Overusing qualifiers can distract readers. Instead, try to replace them with a single but powerful word. For example, if you’re describing Anna to be extremely angry, you can just say, “Anna is furious!”.
2. Over explaining
In here, new writers “tell” the story, instead of “showing” it. You explain too much because you don’t trust your readers to understand what you’re trying to say on their own.
You’re not sure you choose the right quality of details for your readers, you pile more descriptions. It’s a big mistake because you’re not allowing your readers to fill in those spaces with their own imagination.
This mistake often happens when you work on dialogues. Some authors would make the characters discuss something in small talk in a way no one would ever do. As a result, the dialogue would sound like a dialogue of two robots and not an actual conversation.
When you have a dialogue in your story, make sure that it’s natural enough and believable. Use it to add tension to the characters or move your story ahead. But never use it to dump information.
Always remember that readers care the most about the things that move the story forward, help them understand the story and tickle their imagination without boring them.
Control your narrative to help you avoid this mistake.
3. Not expanding your reach
After writing your piece and publishing it, you may want to settle for your humble success. But you can always expand your reach. If you live in one of the best places to live for aspiring writers, you should find a tribe that requires a leader. You cannot just build a masterpiece and hope that your audience will come. Instead, create it and find a tribe that finds your piece useful.
The good thing is that tribes hang out together. Find a few of them, and it will be a lot easier for you to find more. Online, you can start guest posting. It is a powerful method to ensure that new audience finds your stories.
4. Focusing on your niche
If you wish to be a better writer, you need to read more. It means that you should read topics that are outside of your niche. Doing so will help you make your writing more diverse.
For instance, if you write health industry stories, consider reading a book or blog about finance. Why? Because the nature and style of content that’s outside your specialty can assist you within your niche. You need to feed your brain to produce useful content for your readers.
However, when you read books outside your niche, you should pick well-written ones. You can never be a solid writer if you’re reading low-quality content. Instead, try to read professional-grade content each day. Online, you can read Harvard Business Review or the New York Times. These websites always provide high-quality content.
5. Waiting for an inspiration
You can wait for hours, weeks, or even years and inspiration may not come. Professional writers do not wait until they have good ideas. They always sit down, pen in hand and ready to write. You must write more and more, and the muse will show up. If you cannot think of anything to write, you can start writing a letter to your parents, siblings or one of your heroes. You can even start writing your favorite recipe or literary characters. When you start scribbling, you will come up with great ideas. But you need to scribble first before those ideas show up.
In other words, you need to write every day and it’s gonna be your way of practicing. You need to create daily as it exercises your creativity. It helps you become a more imaginative writer. You must never sit around and wait for the inspiration to come and visit you.
Force yourself to be creative and resourceful. It may not be easy at first, but giving up should never be an option for you. As you practice and write on a daily basis, you become smarter in your creation.
6. Writing for the market
Most experts recommend new writers to start writing for the market. They say that new writers should study those books from the bestseller lists and identify a trend. From there, they can start writing. But the moment you find a trend, it might be too late for you to join. Unfortunately, when you finish writing, that ship can be already gone.
Thus, you must ignore that advice of writing for the market only. Instead, get a fresh voice. You must be market conscious, but you must also know how to bring something new to the table. In other words, you must learn how to express your own heart and passion that allows you to share your vision with your readers.
Never write something that will only satisfy the market trend. The trend will likely pass by the time your book is ready for publishing. The amount of novels about teenage vampire is a nuisance. It is also a wildfire hazard.
In other words, write a story or a novel that gives you insomnia. Do not focus on making a quick buck. Instead, focus on writing a book that will satisfy your readers forever.
7. Hating other people for their feedback
You may think that your writing is excellent based on the feedback you get from other people. But you must remember that no writing is beloved by everyone. Every editor or agent has a different opinion about your work. Thus, when someone said that he does not like a part of your writing, never hate him. Instead, you must always be open to criticism. From there, you can become a better writer.
With that being said, make sure to accept the criticism and recognize the issues so that you can address them well. From there, you can edit your work to ensure that the majority of your readers will love it.
Although you should be open to criticism, you shouldn’t get involved with those trolls who write sociopathic comments just for the sake of writing comments. What they are doing is not useful. Thus, their comments are not useful in helping you to improve your craft. In that case, you should ignore them.
You must also avoid being spiteful of other writers’ success. Instead, celebrate it. If you knew some writers and learned that they landed some great book deals, you should learn from them, rather than resent their achievements. Always remember that their success does not defy yours.
8. Ignoring the basics
Writing a few quite successful pieces doesn’t make you excellent at writing. Even professional writers have flaws. For that reason, you must never lower your guard or ignore the basics. These basics would include sound grammar and proper spelling. Ignoring them means that you neglect the foundation of writing.
If you pay attention to them closely, you can avoid hitting the recycling bin.
Being a writer is not easy, but it is fun to be one. There are various decisions you need to make and paths you must try and follow. You must master your craft. Money is only a part of writing, so do not focus on it. Instead, concentrate on solving a problem in your world so that you can bring the actual value to the world.
If you have made those mistakes, it is not too late to correct them. You can boost the attention that your work deserves by focusing on the problems we provided in this post.
To write more effectively, make sure you have a room for creativity and use other sources to help you create a good piece. And remember that no one becomes a better writer overnight. It can take years to form habits. However, when they are in place, ideas can easily flow without any thought or effort. Before you know it, your craft improves exponentially.
Catrin Cooper is an edtech guru from New York. She loves science fiction and yoga.