The author, Stephen King, once said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Truer words have never been spoken. However, in order to be a good writer, you’ll also need to avoid making the common mistakes that so many beginner writers make.
This article is a follow up to my article, “3 Tips to Speed Up Your Writing”. In this article, we’ll look at the four most common mistakes that people make when they start writing. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to write a novel or a Kindle book or a blog post. These mistakes will slow you down. Eliminate them at all cost.
Editing While You Write
This is probably the most common mistake of the lot. People write a paragraph and then they read it and re-read it and keep making changes and edits to this paragraph trying to make it perfect. After thirty minutes, they’re still stuck on this one paragraph.
This is a waste of time and it’s counterproductive. Writing and editing should never be done at the same time. There is a saying that goes, “Write without fear. Edit without mercy.”
What that means is you should write without pausing to make corrections. You can always edit your writing once you’re done writing. The two tasks do not mix. Finish the writing first… and once it’s all done, then you can edit your content till you think it’s great.
If you’re the type of person that hates seeing the red and green squiggly lines in your word processor, just disable your spell check and grammar check and write without worry. Some people just can’t move forward if they feel that something needs to be fixed. This will solve that problem.
Not Segmenting Your Activities
There may be different tasks that you need to do while writing. For example, if you need to write five articles on weight loss, you may need to think of topics and titles. The goal here is to get all of these tasks completed first. Do your work in ‘bulk’.
That means, complete all the research required at one go. Create all the outlines at one go. Do similar tasks at once. Do not make the mistake of researching the content for one article, then outlining it and writing it… only to go through the process again with the next article and so on.
Complete all the necessary tasks first before you sit down to write. Once you’re settled in to write… you only do one thing… write. Period. If you do this, your writing will be much faster and less of a hassle.
Failing to Create Outlines
This is another mistake. You must have an outline. It could be a novel or an article or a listicle… or any piece of content. You absolutely must outline it. Writing down a brief list of points or a plot outline will help you stay on track and prevent you from digressing.
You shouldn’t try to wing it as you go along. The outline will serve as a map with guideposts to make sure you cover whatever you need to while writing. It’ll keep you focused, and you’ll get through your writing in record time.
Not Removing Distractions
Generally, it’s best to write in a quiet place that’s free from distractions. Nowadays, many writers mention that they prefer to write in cafes and coffee shops. In fact, there is even a website https://coffitivity.com/ that recreates the ambient sounds of a café so that people can listen to it and write better.
It may seem strange… but ultimately, you need to find out what works for you. Ideally, silence is golden, and you should do your best to make sure that nothing interrupts your train of thought while writing.
Tell your family members not to disturb you. Place your mobile phone on silent or in another room if you must. Turn off all social media or temporarily disconnect your internet connection if you can’t resist the temptation of scrolling on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
When you write, you write. Starve your distractions and feed your focus. Keep writing until you’re done for the day and then you may pick up wherever you left off with other tasks and commitments.
Now that you’re aware of these four common mistakes, you should do whatever it takes to avoid them. You’ll get more writing done in less time.