3 Fatal Mistakes Writers Make

While there are many ways to screw up a good story, there are a few that can really kill your book before it’s even finished. Here are the three worst things you can do and what to do instead.

Use Normal Words

It might be tempting to try to sound smart if this is your first novel, but trust me on this one. Don’t toss out big words. Even if your character is a rocket scientist, use the most common word possible. If you need to use a big word, make sure it’s dialogue and only what is reasonable for your character. Your readers aren’t likely rocket scientists so use language they’ll understand.

Take It Easy On Punctuation and Emphasis

It’s a common argument between writers and editors, but italics are seldom necessary. It might be a struggle at first, especially if you’re trying to write out thoughts, but with creativity and lots of practice, you’ll figure out how to emphasize without accessorizing the text.

Don’t use exclamation marks. You might think you need them, but you don’t. Challenge yourself to write in a way that your reader will get the point without them. Use body language and facial expressions or even gestures instead.

The rule of ending sentences. If dialogue has been interrupted, it’s better to use an em dash before the closing quotation mark. Ex. “I lost my new swea–“ If you’re looking for it on the keyboard, you won’t find it and it’s not the minus sign. To get an em dash, simply hold down alt and type in 0150 on the numeric pad. Make sure to add one before any dialogue that picks back up too.

If your dialogue trails off, then it’s perfectly acceptable to use ellipses, or … You don’t need to add an additional period to end the sentence.

Don’t Head-Hop

Switching POV in the middle of a scene is an absolute don’t. There’s no way to even justify this and it will never pass an editor. Save yourself the re-writing time and make sure to stay in one POV per scene, and per chapter if possible.

More on the topic of self-editing in my book, Polish Til It Shines. It’s only $4.99 so grab it and start studying!

What Authors Wish Their Readers Knew

The life of a writer is nothing like what most people imagine. In fact, it’s one of the hardest lifestyles to maintain. Only with discipline and devotion to the craft can a writer continue to write. Here’s the bold and honest truth.

  • We live many weeks or months in solitary confinement.
  • Our families sometimes suffer for our work.
  • We can go days without sleep.
  • We often forget to eat.
  • Writing is hard for us too.
  • We doubt ourselves.
  • We’re a mess.

Despite everything you read above, we write because we need to. No matter our purpose, we will bleed for those words on the page and we’re proud of the work we do for you. What you also need to know is –

  • We love what we do.
  • We couldn’t do it without you.
  • Every story is a journey we’re creating for you.
  • We’re just as attached to the characters as you are.
  • We celebrate every sale as if it were the first.
  • We read your reviews and remember you.
  • We appreciate you so much!

Here’s how you can make an author smile today. We need it more than we’ll admit.

  • Follow us on Social Media. We love to connect.
  • Leave a quick review for a book you enjoyed. We’re listening.
  • Share our content with your friends. We like when people talk about us.
  • Sign up for our mailing list. We’re excited to share things with you.

 

Beat Writer’s Block

So you had a great idea for a book that’s sure to be a bestseller. You have your outline, know your characters and have the first draft of several chapters finished.

You sit down ready to begin writing and you’re stumped. We’ve all been there. I’ve composed a list of the best cures I’ve found for writer’s block.

  • Read a book.

Reading is one of the best ways to get your imagination working for you, especially if you choose a book out of your normal genre. A good book will create a whole new world for you to explore.

  • Write out your thoughts.

A single sentence can change the world. Write it out! Then go back and add to it each time you’re creativity is stuck. The few minutes you spend doing this will give your brain a break from the current moment and stir your thoughts back to life.

  • Ask and Answer ‘What if’.

A lot of people ask it, but this time, actually answer, but do it in the mind of your characters. You might be surprised at your own responses when your thoughts are allowed to flow freely, and you can imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes.

  • Update your workspace.

Sometimes just a small change in the normal scenery can be an inspiration. Add something new to your work area or take the time to remove clutter. You’ll feel refreshed and your mind will reward you for the effort.

  • Bake something!

Even if you’re not a baker, a small, challenging change in your routine is enough to drag you out of the writing rut. You’ll have a fresh treat to enjoy once you finish your masterpiece.

  • Call Grandma

A quick call to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while could provide the little lift you’re looking for. It’s easy to get discouraged when words won’t come, but you’ll find the encouragement you need to push you along. It’s never wasted time to reach out to a loved one.

6 Strategies to Overcome the Fear of Writing

  • Quick fact: Did you know that fear is the number one thing holding others back?

     

    Don’t let fear sabotage your dreams. Take control! Here’s how –

     

    Winning strategies for how you can overcome the fear of writing and get started!

     

    • Prepare Yourself.

    Writing anything can be daunting for an inexperienced writer, but rest assured, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. To make it all a little less overwhelming, make sure you’re prepared.

    Set up quiet, clutter-free work area. This is detrimental for your sanity as well as your motivation. A tidy space to work will help you connect with the wonderful truth. You’re about to become a writer, and soon, you’ll be an author.

    Organize your thoughts and ideas on paper. Start filling up that notebook with your ideas, even if they’re not all related to the same project. Let your creativity flow as you work toward defining exactly what it is you want to write and how you’re going to present it.

    • Begin your research.

    It’s no secret that even the experts are continually learning about their craft. You don’t need to be an expert to write about a topic you’re passionate about. Just get to work!

    • Focus on the process, not the results.

    You not an editor. You’re a writer. This is the best piece of advice I can give anyone struggling with self-doubt. Don’t sweat what you don’t know. You will never finish the first page if you allow yourself to criticize work that doesn’t exist yet. Just finish it. Once you have that crappy, error-riddled first draft, then you can go back to revise and edit. All first drafts are trash. Accept it.

    • Realize you’re not writing for everyone.

    It’s okay if not everyone enjoys it. You’re not writing for them anyway. Some people will love it, and that’s who you’re writing for. You’re going to be rejected, you’re going to take some punches. We all do! What the experts know, is that it’s worth it. And those people who enjoy your work are loyal. They’ll appreciate you.

    • Start small.

    Don’t write a full sized novel. Short stories can be a great way to start out until you’re comfortable with the writing process. A short story can be up to 20,000 words in length but still has all the makings of a full-size novel. If you’re writing an informational ebook, you can do with about half of that. No excuses here!

    • Do it because you’re afraid of it!

    Everyone has faced a fear at least once in their lifetime and there’s no better feeling of accomplishing what you thought you couldn’t. Accept that fear is normal and just a part of the process, but keep going! You’ll have something to be proud of, and others will be proud of you too.

     

    Quick Fact: Joining a support community increases your chances of finding success!

    Bonus Fact: Research and studying your craft before you begin can help you write better, quicker and easier!

     

    Be visible. Be informed. Be an Author.

    We’ll help you along!

7 Reasons to Write a Book

Quick Fact: Did you know that writing a book is one of the top bucket list items?

 

So you want to write a book, but don’t know where to begin?

The first step is defining your purpose. Get started now!

 

All books have a purpose, just like all writers have one. Unless you establish your purpose, you’ll never put a word on the page. Define your purpose and remind yourself often what your words really mean to you.

 

Autobiography/Memoir

If you’ve got an interesting life story, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ve learned some lessons somewhere along the way. It’s also a safe bet to suggest that others may be struggling with something you know a bit about from your own experiences. Sharing your story can benefit those who are in pain or struggling.

If you don’t want to tell it all, a memoir might be the better option. A memoir only focuses on one specific event, stage or problem in your life.

Have a Career You Love.

I’ve heard it said that if you have a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s really true! If you’re slaving away in a factory or sitting in an office with someone breathing down your neck, getting that book started seems like a vacation.

 

To Entertain.

Some of us write because we just enjoy entertaining people. No one said your novel has to be serious in nature. In fact, many books based on humor, satire and silliness do very well. If you’ve got a unique, quirky or even absurd concept, write it!

 

A Message To Share.

If you’ve got a message you feel is important for people to know, tell us! All books teach us something, but some are specifically for that purpose. You don’t have to write non-fiction to share your message. Craft it into a well-written story.

 

Leaving A Legacy.

You don’t have to have fame and fortune to leave a legacy. Writing a book is an accomplishment to be proud of, and those close to you will be proud as well. I can’t think of a better gift to give than a book that was written from the heart that can be passed down through generations.

 

Establish Yourself as An Expert.

This approach is often used by businesses and other professionals who want to establish themselves as an expert in their field. You’ll gain credibility and a nice little addition to your resume to set you apart from any competition. It can actually boost your business too!

 

Revenue/Income!

Yes. We all need the income. Whether writing is a hobby or you’re doing it full time, you need money. Books can be a great residual income if marketed properly. With hard work and determination, you can completely replace your income in book sales. Maybe you’ll even write the next best seller!

 

No matter what your purpose is, the goal is to write and do it well. Unfortunately doing it well begins with making mistakes, writing crap, and feeling discouraged. If this is you right now, it’s time to change that!

Our growing community is a perfect place to find help when you need it.