No matter what stage in our writing careers we are in, we all fall victim to these 5 rookie mistakes. Are you making any of these errors?
1. NOT PROOFING CORRECTLY
Want to wow your audience? Take the time to reread your writing for spelling, grammatical, extra spacing, etc. Failing to do so screams unprofessional for those of us who firmly believe that these “issues” are easy to fix.
Note: please don’t rely on spell check and other types of automated checkers. These can catch some of the errors, but also cause others. Not convinced? When was the last time you used the spell checker on your phone? Remember what hilarity ensued when you read what it “thought” you meant to say?
- The best solution to this mistake (no pun intended) is to hire someone to read thru your manuscript and catch what you have not. Editors are your friend, be nice to them
- If you’re on a tight budget check out Fiver to find someone to proof read your work for $5. Just be sure to read the reviews.
- Use a program that reads your writing back to you. Scrivener for instance has a a great built in speech feature. (See video below)
- If you absolutely must proofread and edit yourself remember this tip – read backwards. It will prevent your mind from automatically filling in the gaps and correcting errors. (Like this crazy brain game)
2. NOT FOCUSING ON WRITING
This one seems obvious, but you will be amazed at the sheer number of writers who complain about not finding the time to write? Um, that book or blog post is not going to write itself. Find the time to dedicate to writing and take the time to write what you need to.
Ninja trick: Next time you are waiting at an appointment, instead of taking out your smartphone to check Twitter, use the time to brainstorm potential ideas or characters. Evernote is perfect for these little brainstorming sessions
I use an app called FastEver. It’s the fastest opening app I’ve found for Evernote and the one I use the most.
3. THINKING THE FIRST DRAFT SHOULD BE GOOD
As writers, we tend to think that our words are worth more than gold and that the first draft should be the last. News flash, it's not called a draft because it's smooth. The more we write, the easier our words flow and the less edits need to happen.
It Gets Better With Every Pass
The 2nd or 3rd pass creates a work of art because it had a foundation of previous drafts to build upon. This is why it is so important to have a neutral third party read through our writing. They will be able to spot errors we were not able to find or that we glossed over.
4. SELF SABOTAGING YOUR WRITING
Going back to a previous point, sometimes the reason we can't find the time to write is because we are afraid of success or failure. Don't let these fears stop you. Believe in the power of your words, in whatever your genre might be.
Being An Author Is Hard Work
Success and failure can both bring critics. Believe in yourself enough to overcome the potential obstacles. You might find that you write a book that climbs the bestseller charts or your first couple of attempts might be duds. You never know until you try. You will always fail if you never take the chance to try.
Get Excited About "Failing"
We are taught in school that failing is a bad thing. Let's change the world's misconception of that. Let others see that you are not afraid to fail like so many of the great inventors from the past. Life would be totally different if they were not willing to step outside the lines and try several times to create something new.
Focus On Your Readers
Engross your readers so much that they are not thinking of what they will do next, but what will the next page bring? Will it bring a sense of adventure, dread, or overwhelm? You decide.
5. NOT HAVING A WEB PRESENCE
Authors who don't have some type of presence on the web don't sell many books. A website is a great tool to use to connect with your audience and sell your books at the same time. However, don't forget about social media as well. Both a website and having a presence on social media portrays you as an author who wants to connect with your audience.
Build A Fanclub
Believe it or not, authors are kinda like movie stars. Sure, you don't have to worry about the paparazzi, but people do start to recognize your picture. The more popular your books become, the more you will be in demand for author signings and other book events. If you show your audience that you are a real person by interacting with them on social media and/or thru email, the demand for your books will be greater.
Let The Ideas Roll In
Bonus you will start to receive ideas for your next book when your readers start to ask questions about why such and such happened, or why did you end it like that.
Tip: Not ready to write another book, yet? Take these questions and compose a series of blog articles discussing these questions. Interact with your readers about them. Rinse and repeat.
As a writer, we all fall for these rookie mistakes at some time during our writing career. Consider this blog post as your course correction.
Now go forth and write with purpose!
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