writing

5 Mistakes Made by Aspiring Authors

Happy Sunday, everyone and welcome back to my blog!
I’ve had quite a good writing week this week; while I may not have built up a huge word count, I’ve started to understand some of my characters even more and move my plot along well. So I’m feeling pretty smiley about it!

Even so, today I’d like to focus on 5 Mistakes we make as Aspiring Authors. I personally have made/still make ALL of these, but you might only relate to some. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

1. Judging Ourselves too Harshly
Nothing makes your heart sink more than when you read back over parts of your story, a story that fills you with excitement, and you hate almost every word. There’s nothing more crushing than feeling like a King/Queen as those sentences spilled from your pen, but like a small child when you read them back. But this is the problem; we judge ourselves too harshly, too early on. When you write a first draft your mind is thinking fast, it’s all about getting that story told and sometimes the ideas flow too quickly to write well. That’s okay. Let that first draft be a mess if it needs to be. You will have to judge yourself when you edit, but save it for that; save it for the next draft. And when you finally do get round to editing yourself, be kind. Your writing is an achievement and you should be proud of yourself through each, gruelling step.

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2. Comparing Our Progress
When you’re part of the writer’s community it’s great fun to follow other people’s journey’s. We’re all here to support each other. However, it can be easy to get disheartened when you’re having a bad day/week/month in your writing and everyone else seems to be pushing forward, hitting their word count targets and reaching the next steps in their goals. Don’t let this make you think you’re not cut out for it. Everyone who is going through a wave of success has also and will also have the same struggles as you. It doesn’t matter if you’re only on your first draft, if your word count is miles behind what you want it to be. Your time will come and so will theirs; but it is not a race.

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3. Thinking too far Ahead
There is a certain extent to which thinking ahead is a good thing. Think of your goals, your dreams, your aspirations and focus on them – in this regard, thinking ahead is motivational and positive. But try not to focus on the challenges of the next step too soon. If you’re on the first draft, try not to worry about the struggle of editing for the second draft. If you’re on a second/third/fourth draft try not to worry about whether you’re going to need to do it all again. Try not to worry about the challenges of finding agents or the potential of being published. As I said, thinking of these things in the positive light of aspiration is good and will drive you forward. But spending too much time thinking about the next part you need to conquered will distract from the here and now. Right now, all you have to do is write.

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4. Not Finishing Our Work
I’m guilty for having gotten so excited about a new idea that I’ve pursued it, promising myself I’ll return to my WIP (work in progress) later…and then never have! I’ve left a small number of projects abandoned and unfinished and never gone back to them. Now, admittedly, in a lot of these cases I did move on to something that was more exciting and probably a better overall idea. But finishing a WIP is about so much more than telling the end of your story. It helps you to practice discipline, patience and commitment; three essential things to any writer. Not to mention that writing endings is hard and who’s to say if you don’t practice finishing your work now, that you’ll ever finish a piece at all?

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5. Feeling we don’t Deserve to Call Ourselves Writers.
It’s a common feeling that unless you’re published or in any way successful than you’re not really a writer. And okay, if you’re not being paid or earning money through writing, then perhaps it isn’t your job title. But for so many of us writing isn’t work, it’s passion, it’s something we can’t live with out. At the end of the day, writers write and if that’s what you’re doing, be it for work, for a hobby or simply because it pains you not to, then you are a writer. And you have every right to that title.

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Let me know if you’re guilty of any of these ‘mistakes.’ I’d love to read your comments!

Until then,
Keep writing,
M.
x

 

25 thoughts on “5 Mistakes Made by Aspiring Authors”

  1. Guilty🙋 of all of these. I used to judge myself too harshly, telling myself I needed to be better and in turn would abandon the stories I was then currently writing. This flood of inadequacy has dwindled to more of a trickle since learning to share my work openly. I remind myself constantly of this quote ‘I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.’
    I do continue to overwhelm myself with my ‘to do list’. All the scenes I need to still write, the ones I need to edit, and the craft I need to continue to learn. I keep a mantra of ‘one chapter at a time’.
    Love this post. Thanks for sharing this. It is articles like these that bind or writer’s community together. 💖😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment ❤ It's amazing how writing is such a solitary hobby and yet there's loads of us here going through the same highs and lows. Keep sharing your posts too, I adore your blog!

      Like

  2. I’ve always had the internal war of convincing myself that I AM a writer, regardless of success. It’s something I’m getting better at, slowly.
    I also have 42 novel plots in various stages of progress – some half written, others barely planned. I’ve been writing for nearly 10 years and I’ve finished one book. Now, I have rules – up to 3 current projects at a time!
    And, I also get soooo court up in the impatience of just wanting the book finished, the excitement for what comes next. I’ll end up researching how to sell a book – before I’ve even written it!

    Glad to see I’m not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting and for providing such an insight into your own writing journey and the struggles and joy that come with it!
      I think it’s so important to set ourselves rules and targets and it sounds like you’ve found a good ground for that. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent and inspiring blog post. It’s a great reminder that we all go through this, and how to push through the stages and keep going 😊. You’ve certainly made me want to get back to my WIP. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, very inspiring. I’ve certainly struggled with all of these points so far. I think that the point that resonated with me most though was .5. I’m always reluctant to call myself a writer when I’m asked the dreaded question of what I do. This has given me the reassurance to do so with confidence. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good post, and I would agree with most points. On #4, though, sometimes it isn’t lack of interest or that I’ve moved on to something more interesting. Occasionally, you hit a snag in the logic of the story, and trying to find the solution just isn’t coming to you (or only trite solutions that are overused). In those cases, sometimes you have to just leave that one on the back burner and go off to do other things. Chewing on the unfinished item occasionally may help you find the answer you need to finish it, but that may take years, if ever. I’ve got one story like that right now. While some of my stories are unfinished simply because I need to go and work on them, that one story I’ve never quite found the answer I need to fix the problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I particularly like the Doctorow quote about only needing to see/accomplish the next step, rather than all the steps right now. This has always been my approach, but I’ve never seen it put into words this beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post. Good advice. I can add two more to your list — not learning the craft. Writing is so personal and can be so absorbing that sometimes writers forget that there are certain long-established — and wise — rules. I’m not talking about grammar or spelling, but a whole array of dos and don’ts and nuances that writers need to learn about writing as an art. The other I’d add is not reading broadly enough. Everything a writer reads becomes part of his or her toolbox.

    Liked by 1 person

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