The Worst Mistake a Writer Can Make

There are loads of mistakes writers can make. The biggest mistake by far is thinking we are infallible. Every mistake a person makes becomes that much more cringe-worthy when that same person believes they can do no wrong.

Another way to think about it is through humility. Writers have to be humble and realize that there is always room to grow. The person who doesn’t think there is room to grow, never will

It’s easy to get excited about the things you’ve written and think they are the BEST EVER. I think that’s why the editing process is such a task for most of us. Editing is a constant, painful, reminder that the thing we once believed was perfect has errors and problems.

Once we get past the typos and grammar errors, the easiest thing to do (and the thing we most desire) is to declare ourselves done and go back to thinking we’ve achieved PERFECTION. Don’t. Analyze your structure, plot, point-of-view consistency, and characterization. Check for plot holes, info dumps, receptiveness and clarity.

When it seems there are no more improvements to make, it’s time to ask others for advice: alpha readers, beta readers, editors, critique partners, writer groups. When we get feedback, we have to swallow our pride and look at our work critically. We have to be open to the fact, again, that our work isn’t as perfect as we thought.

If we really want to create the BEST STORY EVER, we have to accept that we’re fallible. We have to keep in mind that there is always room for improvement and give ourselves room to grow.

The more we do this, the more likely we are to craft BETTER stories later. Great writers frequently admit that they are still learning and growing. Twelve, twenty, novels later, these authors are still humble about the process, and we should be too.

There is nothing wrong with admitting that your writing needs improvement. It’s actually the RIGHT thing to do. Always try to improve your work and accept help from others. Keep working and striving for perfection. You’ll grow as a writer.

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6 thoughts on “The Worst Mistake a Writer Can Make

  1. I definitely agree that humility is one of the keys to writing great stories. Great post! It’s always great to find another writer on a similar path as I am. I am currently working to complete a novel with the eventual goal of publishing! I’ve just subscribed. You have a great blog here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also good to remember that even established writers go through two editing rounds with their publishers: first a structural edit, then a copy edit. Just like you, they are so close to their work they can’t see its full power or potential, which is where an editor, critique partner or alpha reader comes in.

    Liked by 1 person

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