3 mistakes writers should try to avoid

The backspace and delete keys were invented to fix one of mankind’s oldest problems: the mistake.

Writers are prone to little mistakes, but some are bigger yet harder to see as mistakes.

Here are three errors to definitely avoid:

Writing without a plan.

This is the kind of writing where you completely wing it: no plot, no setting, or no outline and no thesis. Just pure, spontaneous freewriting. That is okay for your first draft to form a story or concept, but if you keep going like that, you will end up with a badly written book. Writing fiction lends itself to this mistake because it allows the writer use the imagination without limits. Hence a confusing, unclear manuscript that is never finished.

Writing non-fiction without enough research and a plan can result in disaster even though one can’t stretch their imagination too far. You don’t want your book to be little more than a boring encyclopedia of disorganized facts. I edited a book just over a year ago that had me reeling from all the repetition the author had in it because he didn’t organize his thought and outline what he wanted to say and in what order before writing. (I fixed it, so his book is doing fine now).

Not asking for second opinions.

Yes, you were an English major. I get it. I also get that you’re human and will and make and miss your own spelling and grammar mistakes. After working on your manuscript for days and weeks, you are so familiar with your own writing flaws and habits that you no longer notice them. Find someone to read the thing over and give you their honest feedback (if you don’t have an objective friend or relative, ask me to read it for you at yourwritinglady@gmail.com). It may surprise you how confusing your “clear” writing is to someone else. Don’t be too proud to ask for thoughts.

Doing too much at one time.

You are writing your book while chatting with 6 Facebook friends, talking on the phone, and playing YouTube Mortal Kombat fatalities in the background. (Yes, I’m weird).

This is perfectly fine if you don’t intend to get much writing done that day. Otherwise, no. Just no. You can’t write your best work if you’re distracted. Even if your spelling and grammar turns out okay, the flow of thought is might be off. You’ll see it when you read your work a couple of days later and realize that your thoughts seems to be all over the place.

Set aside a special time for your writing. Your editor will thank you for it.


One Comment Add yours

  1. D.I. Ozier says:

    Excellent points, especially your point about planning things out beforehand. While it’s not necessary to be overly detailed when creating an outline (that works for some people, but not everyone), every writer can benefit from jotting down their ideas about their book before they get started. This can help them stay focused and understand the novel as part of a big picture.


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