15 Things That Probably Won’t Actually Improve Your Writing

These things might not accomplish what you want them to accomplish.

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1. Researching how to get a book published when you haven’t actually started writing a book yet.

2. Obsessively perfecting your book’s outline without actually working on the book.

3. Getting up early to write even though you never actually get any writing done during that time.

4. Joining 20+ Facebook groups.

5. Asking other writers for feedback without offering to give feedback in return.

6. Always writing in a coffee shop.

7. Making sure every single one of your bios and social media accounts specify you’re an “aspiring writer.”

8. Following every writer possible on every social media platform you can remember your password to.

9. Purchasing the best writing software/apps/gadgets.

10. Always writing about the exact same thing because it’s “comfortable.”

11. Writing about writing but never actually working on your own projects.

12. Talking to anyone who will listen about every new idea that comes to you.

13. Constantly taking time off of writing to “figure out what you really want as a writer.”

14. Reading every single writing advice/self-help book ever published.

15. Worrying so much about writing a perfect first draft that you never finish writing a first draft.

Some tools, strategies, apps, and gadgets can improve your organization, help you meet deadlines, and push you toward a writing life filled with fewer distractions.

But these things won’t actually make you a better writer. After all, successful writers all have at least one thing in common: They write well. They practice, practice, and practice until they get really good at it. And then they use shiny objects to make it easier to keep practicing.


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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12 thoughts on “15 Things That Probably Won’t Actually Improve Your Writing

  1. Hi Dowell Thanks for such beautiful write ups. I have been inspired with every piece.

    Godsgift.

    On Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 8:02 AM Novelty Revisions wrote:

    > Meg Dowell posted: “1. Researching how to get a book published when you > haven’t actually started writing a book yet. 2. Obsessively perfecting your > book’s outline without actually working on the book. 3. Getting up early to > write even though you never actually get any ” >

  2. So great. I think I get dinged for the reading every book about writing cliché. haha
    But I try my best to steer clear of most of these. Thanks for sharing them. Gives me some great guidelines to keep in mind.

    1. I mean, I’ve read a bunch of them, it’s not a bad strategy. You just, you know … have to actually apply some of the stuff you’re reading about by actually writing. ;) haha.

  3. Once again these are wonderful thoughts that are so incredibly true! I could not agree more that fewer distractions will improve writing and just talking about our ideas without implementing them does absolutely no good! I always appreciate ALL of your words of wisdom as I feel they are making me a better writer that is actually pursuing my goals instead of just talking about them!!! Thank you!!

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