10 Mistakes Writers Can’t Be Afraid to Make If They Want to Succeed

Part of learning is messing up.

1. Spelling things wrong. Be mindful and proofread, but one small error in most cases is easily fixable and isn’t going to ruin your entire career.

2. Writing too much or too little – being “too wordy” or not descriptive enough. This is something you learn as you go, through actually writing.

3. Breaking basic writing rules. Usually, you have to break them, learn how not to break them .. and THEN you get to break them all you want, but strategically.

4. Reaching out to the wrong people for help. You should always do your research and learn as much as you can about the proper way to do things, and sometimes you don’t reach out to the right people. That’s OK. Hopefully they can help refer you to the right people who can answer your questions.

5. Writing a story that’s “too predictable.” You have to start somewhere — it’s OK if you start there.

6. Promoting your work too little or too much. There’s a right balance for everyone and it takes some trial and error to figure out yours.

7. Reaching out to authors you admire – there are unwritten rules, but it’s not hurting anyone to try reaching out as long as you’re respectful and kind when you do it.

8. Writing a book that’s “too similar” to another popular book. Like #5 – the only way to learn is to write, and sometimes imitation is just part of that process.

9. Wording something the wrong way. Miscommunication happens to everyone. Don’t obsess over always getting it perfect – do the best you can.

10. Not believing you can do it. It holds us all back at one point or another. But the more you try, the more you do, the easier it is to visualize the goals you want to reach.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.


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3 thoughts on “10 Mistakes Writers Can’t Be Afraid to Make If They Want to Succeed

  1. Meg – I truly appreciate your words of wisdom. They are very encouraging to the soon-to-be, novice, as well as experienced writer. We have to give ourselves opportunities to grow in our writing journeys. And the only way to know what works for that individual is to simply start writing and trying new things. Trial and error will inevitably lead to a path of growth (if we give ourselves permission to explore the possibilities). I never want to be afraid of failing (at times); because I know that if I consistently and stubbornly pursue my passion of writing, there will eventually be wins and successes on the other side. Thanks for your awesome post.

  2. So, the other day, for about the 15th time, I’m rereading Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October, and right in the middle of it I catch a typo! Somehow that made me feel better. If a writer i admire, who has an army of proof readers can screw up, then I’m allowed to.

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