Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Mistakes that make Writers Fail.

As I progress with my writing career I still follow one main ambition. And that ambition is to learn something that will benefit my writing every day. Whether it's reading more books in my desired genre, reading blogs on the craft of writing or just reading advice from other authors, I always make sure I do at least one productive thing every single day.

But on the writer's journey mistakes are often made. And worryingly these errors can have major setbacks for the writer's career.

Here's a list of the most obvious mistakes.

  • Lack of research. Before you start writing, make sure your ideas are clear ones and ones you can follow through. Make sure everything is researched and don't make the mistake of thinking that just because a certain subject interests you, you already know everything there is to know. If you're writing a crime book featuring psychopaths, make sure you know every trait of this disorder. Research will only make your book more believable in the end.

  • Learn from your mistakes. It is often said the art of writing cannot be taught. You either have the flair or not. However, while I think some aspects of good writing can be taught, I strongly believe the only way to improve is to keep writing. When you start out at the very beginning you'll often find you have to rewrite certain parts extensively. If you make repeated mistakes analyse what you're doing wrong.

  • Repeatedly doubting yourself.  Every writer experiences negative thoughts about themselves from time to time. Every writer loses confidence in their ability to write. But it's crucial you keep going until you pass this stage. If you find you cannot move on, go back to your work and look at it from a different angle.

  • Failing to give a 100%. I have a brilliant poem on a tea towel called 'A Prayer for the Stressed.' In the middle of the verse it says: 'Help me to always give a 100% at work. 12% on Monday. 23% on Tuesday. 40% on Wednesday. 20% on Thursday and 5% on Friday.' You should always try your best every single day. Remember your reader at all times. Would you want them to read shoddy work, especially after they have spent their hard earned money on it?

  • Being overconfident. I think this is the worst mistake of them all. Loving your work too much and being totally oblivious to all its flaws. Threatening your editor with their live if they dare to offer one piece of constructive criticism. As a writer you should be open to all opinions. I'm not saying to have to listen to every single one of them but you should be able to take new things on board that will help you grow into a more successful author.
How about you, have you got any more mistakes to add to the list? What has been your biggest mistake to date?


  1. This one doesn’t just apply to writers—musicians especially are guilty of it: repeating themselves. How many singers or bands can you think of who release this great debut single and then follow up with effectively the same damn song? When I started on my third novel I quickly realised that that was exactly what I was doing which is why I put it to the side, worked on short stories for a couple of years (a medium I hadn’t touched since school) and then, with a clear head and fresh voice, went back to the book. There is a great danger in, especially after you’ve had a modicum of success, pampering to your audience, giving them what you think they want. I always think of Bob Dylan’s decision to go electric here. That did not sit well with many of his fans but it clearly was the way to go to keep him alive creatively.

  2. That is a very good point there Jim - thanks for mentioning it. Although the lyrics may change I can think of so many songs by the same artist that have similar music.

  3. I, for one WILL NOT be fall victim is not having my manuscript proofread by an editor. Many aspiring authors are over anxious in getting and seeing their manuscript in print. and I'm speaking about self-publishing, that they don't take this CRUCIAL STEP. And by doing so they ridiculed by readers in posts on websites that are selling their book(s).

    These comments look down at and point out such things as,
    - Great story however it's loaded with spelling and grammar errors.
    - The point of views [POVs] keep switching often, even in one scene.
    - Overuse of tags [who's saying what when only two characters are speaking.
    - Inconsistencies in story line, where something is stated in one part of the story, and changes, without any explanation as the story progresses.

    I've been working with my editor for some time as I write my manuscript, and once I'm finished I plan putting my completed manuscript aside for about 10-14 days, re-reading it, and tweaking it wherever necessary.

    Furthermore, I'm seriously thinking of paying for and having my manuscript looked at by a second editor/proofreader. My ultimate goal is not to be categorized as another self-published author. My goal is to have a book which is as professionally written as a book from a major publishing house.

    As the old adage states = HASTE MAKES WASTES

    And this is especially true when it comes to aspiring authors unlike myself you can't wait to smell the ink on a freshly printed copy of their book. They fail to LOOK BEFORE THEY LEAP into the realm of being a published author, they fail to realize the possible pitfalls of becoming self-published, as well as the ruination of their long awaited dream of being an accepted author to come true.

    I'm nearing the end of writing my first MG/YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel, with about fifteen more pages to write. I'm in no real rush in getting there and seeing my endeavor, "I Kissed A Ghost", actually in print until I've made certain that I've DOTTED ALL MY "I"s and have CROSSED ALL MY "T"s.

    This is what I feel is THE WORST mistakes any aspiring author can make.

  4. Good article.
    One thing I have learnt is don't be afraid to make contact with other authors and ask for their opinion or advice.
    I have done this and struck up some really nice friends. Yes, they are thousands of miles away but we all have the same interest and so the helping hand is there.
    Learn from those who have been there, seen it, done it and have worn the t-shirt. There is no substitute for experience.

  5. Nice article, you point out many aspects of writing that writers need to pay attention to, including pitfall and how to handle them. Good job!

  6. Robin,

    Thanks for commenting - I love that saying you quoted.


    Yes, I have made a lot of friends myself through social media sites and networking. And I've learned some really valuable information from them too. I think it's great that we can click on a button and ask for help when we're stuck. With the Internet help always seems to be at hand.


    Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I always try my best to think up something worthwhile to blog about - I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Hope all is well. Just tweeted and promoted your book on smashwords....and amazon...backpacker... ;-)

    Keep in touch.

    Ciao for now,
    Carole Di Tosti

  8. Thanks very much, Carole :)I hope all is well with you too.

  9. Yes, good to put those rules in words and for musicians, although I am a classical pianist, it counts as well. Especially overconfidence, that is murderous!
    Annemarie Enters