16 Lies Writing ‘Experts’ Have Made You Believe

“Real writers” never make mistakes.

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1. To succeed in writing, you absolutely have to join a critique group or take a class.

2. People with writing degrees have a better chance than people without them.

3. No matter how hard you work as a writer, you’ll always struggle financially. Always.

4. You’re not a real writer until you’ve published a book — the “traditional” way.

5. Anyone can start a blog, so being a blogger doesn’t count.

6. If you don’t write every day, you’re not really a writer.

7. The only way to get as much writing done as possible is to wake up at 5 a.m, even on weekends.

8. Real writers NEVER discuss their ideas with anyone, EVER.

9. You can never work on more than one project at a time.

10. You can’t move on from one project to the next until the first one is worthy of publishing.

11. “Making it” is mostly a matter of luck.

12. Getting published is the only thing that makes a writer successful.

13. If you don’t write 12 hours a day, every day, you don’t stand a chance.

14. Reading about writing is a total waste of time, don’t even bother.

15. Everything you publish online has to be perfectly polished, even your tweets. Real writers never make mistakes.

16. If you don’t follow my advice exactly, well — you’ll never accomplish what I’ve accomplished.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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7 thoughts on “16 Lies Writing ‘Experts’ Have Made You Believe

  1. “Real writers NEVER discuss their ideas with anyone, EVER” – is that a thing? All the others I had heard before, but this one was new. I suppose I shouldn’t talk about my idea about a magic hat that solves crimes :)

    1. I remember authors talking about it on a podcast, I think. It’s not very likely someone will ‘take’ your idea, and even if they do, well, people copy each others’ ideas all the time. It’s called storytelling! haha.

  2. Reblogged this on A Yarny Life and commented:
    This is a great list that Meg Dowell came up with. Some of them *might* be helpful (joining a critique group, for instance), but not 100% necessary to your writing career. Some of them might be lies *or* truth based on personal experience (#9). But most of them – yep, complete bunk. You *don’t* need a writing degree or class, you can find the writing schedule that works for you and you alone (and that might even change from time to time or project to project), you can *definitely* work on more than one project at once. And don’t even get me started on #14. Where did that lie come from? If reading about writing were so unhelpful, why do so many books–and blogs!–about writing exist?

    Nicely done, Meg! I love it!

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