This guest post covers three common writing mistakes. It’s from Dave Chesson, the developer of KDP Rocket, which is excellent software for self-publishers.
I truly believe that mistakes are absolutely essential steps on the path to success.
A lot of improvement in my writing life has come from learning the right things to do. Equally, doing the wrong things and experiencing failure has provided valuable insight into a better way forward.
Three writing mistakes: my best teachers
The following three mistakes have been some of my biggest and best teachers on the path to success.
Perfectionism As Procrastination
If you ever struggle to write, a large part of the problem might be the issue of using perfectionism as a form of procrastination.
Trying to think of the perfect sentence, or the ideal choice of word, can lead to a mental paralysis which stops you getting anything done.
I’ve found that it is a lot more effective for me to write something imperfectly and then come back to it later. It’s a lot easier to improve average writing over time than it is to go from a blank page to something superb at the first time of trying.
There are several approaches to overcoming this problem.
Firstly, it’s worth trying to relieve any mental pressure or stress you may be feeling. Try and put yourself in a positive state of mind from which your creativity can flow. If you are worried about writing, your writing will suffer.
Secondly, give yourself a numerical word count which you have to hit by a certain time. Sometimes, the sheer pressure of a quantified target will force you to get down at least some content which can be improved upon later.
Finally, have a proven system of editing and improvement in place. This could involve you checking your own work, using grammar tools, or having someone else take a look at your writing. Knowing that your first draft will be improved upon can really help take the pressure off.
Not Protecting My Work
When I first started writing, I found myself too caught up in the process of creation to worry about practicalities related to protecting my work.
The level of protection you will need depends upon the situation you are in and the stage of your writing career you are at.
One essential form of protection is regularly backing up your own work. Early on, I failed to do this, and wasted a lot of time and words as a result. If you work in the cloud, you can ensure that an external copy of your writing is available, no matter what. If you work offline, you should consider making a backup copy on something like an external hard drive, or simply storing your writing online with a service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
If you publish your work online, it’s worth having a written policy about reuse. Some authors allow their work to be reposted on other sites or blogs as long as it’s attributed. If you are clear about your own rules, you have something to fall back on should something go wrong.
At the most serious end of the scale, if you publish books, you want to ensure you are protected. This involves only publishing through reputable services and platforms whose terms and conditions you understand, having a properly written book copyright page, and understanding whether it’s worth your time and energy to respond if you encounter piracy.
Not Writing Regularly
I’ve noticed over the years that my best writing happens when I’m writing regularly. Conversely, whenever I have a period of time where my writing practice is interrupted, it takes a while to shake off the creative rust and express myself effectively again.
Not writing regularly may be down to struggling with motivation, or failing to cultivate an effective writing habit.
Personally, I’ve found that carving out a block of time where I can focus on writing alone has been immensely valuable. During that time, all possible distractions should be blocked out, such as smartphone notifications, social media, or other outside distractions.
Depending on your schedule, it might be necessary to drop another activity in order to write, or even get up or go to bed at a different time. If you’re not sure of where your writing time will come from, track your time for awhile, and see if there is anything that could be eliminated.
We’re all pressed for time, but if writing is a priority in your life, it’s worth protecting a period of time in which you can do it in the best possible environment. Your work will improve immeasurably as a result.
Writing Mistakes Final Thoughts
Hopefully the mistakes shared here will help you overcome some of the writing hurdles you face. My three key takeaways are –
● Don’t be scared to write imperfectly. You can always improve your work later.
● Protect your work appropriately for the stage of your writing career.
● Find a way to write regularly and in an optimum environment.
Ultimately, writing is a creative journey. By encountering mistakes on the way, we learn valuable lessons, and write better work as a result.
Guest post from Dave Chesson
Kindle Marketing Jedi, Kindlepreneur.com
Check out my latest software: KDP Rocket
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.More info →
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