So, you want to be a writer? It takes talent and lots of hard work but the satisfaction is well worth the investment. Here are some common mistakes that every writer makes:
Using Passive voice
Passive voice is a common technique used in speech and writing. It can sometimes make your content incredibly wordy or vague, but when the action of describing something belongs more to what someone else does than where they are doing it at any given time.
One of the top common writing errors is spelling. You might think it’s silly, but that’s just proof of how important spellingreallyis! Sometimes even your spell check can miss spotting homonyms- which means you need an expert eye for this kind of work to get things right on paper (or screen).
Wrong word usage
Using the wrong word can have serious consequences. If you don’t know your vocabulary, then these mistakes will often follow suit and mean something else entirely! For example “compose” means both make up a musical composition as well as form by gathering parts into groups or sections that are related in some way.” A small change such as this could result in an entirely different meaning being conveyed altogether depending on how it is used.
Parallelism is a critical element of good writing, and it’s easy to fall short when using bullet points. You should always start every point with similar words because your readers won’t understand what you’re trying to say if there isn’t symmetry between the sentences or phrases within them; this also helps make sure that they’ll be able to follow along without getting lost!
The most common use for an apostrophe is to show contraction, as in don’t or could’ve. This can be confused with possession and takes away from the meaning of your sentence if it’s used incorrectly; though sometimes this misuse might make sense.
Even the best writers have made mistakes before. But it’s important to learn from them, correct your errors and make sure they don’t happen again in the future. AI tools can help with this as well, check out online tools that can help any writer.
Just like a new year’s resolution, some stories can be dead before it begins. So, here are 5 ways to kill your story before it begins:
Instead of using a lot of colorful and creative words to describe your feelings, make stronger verbs the focus. This will help you move the reader from sentence to sentence quickly so that it’s more engaging for readers who may be bored easily with flowery language.
You are charged with making your readers love or hate the protagonist. It is important that they want something, and this desire motivates them to act in some way as well- either positively towards our main character (and thus find oneself rooting for their success) negative against their foes without any sympathy whatsoever! Either way, you only have a short amount of time to sway the reader (generally about 250 words) so do so quickly.
You don’t want to start your novel right as the main character wakes up in the morning and starts their normal routine. This is a common introduction that likely won’t draw readers into this story at all and they may be tempted off by another chapter or two before you’ve even gotten them hooked!
Dumping backstories is a great way to make your story more engaging for readers, but it’s not always necessary. A lot of people can understand what happened without knowing every tiny detail that happened before the beginning! So, give the reader just enough to keep wondering about more.
The perfect balance of action and dialogue is key to keeping your readers on their toes. Too much can be overwhelming, while too little can leave them feeling bored or obese with nowhere important-ish (or both!) in particular that you need to be addressed at any given time!
A story should have just enough detail so as not to seem sluggish when reading it carefully – but no more than necessary; otherwise, we’ll end up giving up halfway through because everything was happening. To help you get started with your next riveting tale check out our 5 tips for developing fictional characters.
What if I told you there was no such thing as writer’s block? Here are 3 quick tips for beating writer’s block. The only time a person gets “writer’s block” is when they stop writing. And even then, it doesn’t exist because by not doing anything we create an idea in our head and make ourselves think about what comes next instead of just sitting around waiting for something to come along naturally like magic!
Do not be afraid to Fail
Your writing might not be perfect, but that’s the whole point. In fact, the more you do it the better! When you stop being afraid and allow yourself the freedom to just write, your words will come out more creatively and with a better tone of voice. And yes, I am going to edit later either way so…
Don’t set unreachable goals
Remember that writer who sat down and wrote a novel in one night? Yeah, I don’t either. Setting goals is an important part of any personal development journey, but it’s also something that can be challenging. The first step to goal-setting success should always involve setting achievable targets and not unrealistic objectives because if they are too high then you’re more likely just going to backslide instead of improving yourself in some form or fashion.
When you’re feeling stuck in a creative rut, it can be tempting to give up on all your projects. But the reality of life is that we will often only work on one thing at once–and if this doesn’t click for some reason or another-you just switch over until something does!
You are not blocked, you just got too much greatness going.
There are so many great ideas in your head but nothing that meets the criteria for greatness! The key here though is not to get discouraged when it feels like there isn’t anything worth writing about; instead focus on what inspires or interests YOU personally – because after all this will be something only made up by yourself anyway :). Also check out our article 6 Tips for Beginners.
Every writer wants to improve in their craft. These six tips for beginners will help you grow as a beginning writer.
1. Keep a notebook with details of your characters:
Keeping the essential details about your characters together in one place will help you think better and write faster. You can combine character sheets, timelines, and plot notes into one document that allows you to jot down what happens when while keeping track of who said what. This is known as writing organically.
2. Set a goal for daily writing
Before you know it, your imagination can take control and you find yourself spending hours at a time in front of your computer screen, even though there’s no real inspiration going on in your head. This is something which I have seen happen several times with newcomers – they just don’t know when to stop! You should ideally set a target word or page count each day and then try to complete that every day. Try not to go over this throughout the first draft of your novel.
3. Balancing dialogue throughout your story.
It is important to balance your dialogue so that it doesn’t feel like one side of the story has more weight than another. This can be difficult when you have a long stretch without any speech or thought-provoking moments in between characters’ lines, but this will help keep readers engaged with what they’re reading! The goal for every character in a story should be to make the reader feel what they’re going through. To do this, you need your audience’s imagination on full blast.
4. Don’t be a broken record.
Watch out for repetition because it will make you look like a broken record. Style is a vital part of any story, and each writer has their own unique way to tell the tale. The best way to make your writing more engaging and interesting for the reader is by adding some variety to how you describe things. Avoid using words or phrases that have been repetitively used before because this will only result in a lackluster experience from both sides: readers won’t be able to get sufficiently excited about what they’re reading while writers might feel like their work isn’t worth putting time into anymore due solely on sheer repetition.
5. Writing location.
When you are working on your story, it is important that the environment be one where there aren’t any distractions. A journal or piece of paper at hand can help with ideas for what comes next while also serving as an easy way to note down anything else going through your mind when writing them out later; however, if these things aren’t available then try using a napkin from a restaurant – just make sure not to scrawl over anything! A specific workspace will allow you more peace so don’t worry about getting creative- find something comfortable and cozy in whichever room suits you best.
6. Keep going
Sometimes the words won’t come. You’ll think of something brilliant then an hour later, it’s gone, and you have no idea what was wrong or how to fix it! This happens for many reasons: tiredness from waking early in order to start writing; distractions like social media popping up while trying desperately not to refresh your browser out of fear that this might stop any progress made so far…whatever reason applies – just keep going because eventually, things will improve (or at least I hope). The key here isn’t getting discouraged when faced with challenges such as writer’s block.
Writing nonfiction carries a promise to the reader that not only extends to the book as a whole, but also within chapters, and to be nitty gritty, the sub-headings as well.
If you pick up a book called “Get Out of Debt in Six Months or Less,” you expect the author to share tips and strategies to do just that. Inside of Chapter One, titled “Sell Everything You Own and Live in a Van Down By the River,” the author is promising to share not only how to significantly reduce your possessions, but how to relocate to a waterside location.
If the author talks about reducing credit card debt in this chapter, a promise has been broken and subconsciously, the trust factor wanes.
Introducing the Boomerang Method
After you’ve written your first draft (remember, Stephen King says that first one is just for you) you get to play with the content. Move it around. Delete it. Add subheadings. Fill in gaps. And make sure that everything you’re talking about in the chapter relates back to the promise of the chapter.
It must boomerang.
The chapter title, subtitle, and opening lines throw out the promise…and the rest of the content strengthens and explains that promise by always relating it back. Boomerang!
As the author, you set the tone and parameters for your topic and your audience reads in good faith that you’re going to provide them value. One of the biggest mistakes we make as authors is trying to cram too much information into our articles, posts, or chapters. When we overdo, we aren’t digging deeper into the content, instead, we’re only scraping the surface like a rake across a zen garden.
This is easily understood when it comes to chapter content with clear boundaries. In my dating guide, the chapters on Red Flags, Kissing, and Modesty may have had a little bit of crossover, but not much. It was easy to know which stories went in each chapter and which tips and dating rules to include in each.
The trickier part was making sure that the subheadings were always appropriate within each chapter. Guidelines on how to navigate the engagement months didn’t boomerang to the promise given in the chapter called Confidence, and so on.
This may seem like we’re focusing on extremely nit-picky details, but I believe this is one of the marks of great writing. The next time you’re editing your work, look at sections inside your chapters. Are you relating everything back to the specific topic at hand? Are you giving information without explaining to your reader why it needed to be in this specific chapter?
I’ll admit this is one of the hardest parts of self-editing for my own work, and it’s often the feedback I’m looking for with my first readers.
Every story matters.
Every word matters.
Grab your coffee, your water bottle, or whatever drink is closest to you and raise it with me. Here’s to great writing and high standards. Cheers.
Bethany Jett is the Co-Owner of Serious Writer, Inc., and Vice President of Platinum Literary Services where she specializes in marketing, nonfiction proposal creation, ghostwriting, and developmental editing. Her love for email funnels and social media led to her pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in Communication with an emphasis in marketing and public relations.