And how to fix them.
I usually try to stay away from using words like “mistakes” in fields where more paths than one lead to the desired destination.
Maybe “less than desirable decisions” is a better choice of words for several of the elements that I am going to list in this post.
This being said, there are things that beginner writers do that are an absolute no-no, and those decisions can ruin a career before it even buds properly.
They are different from the expected trial and error process that shapes any new activity.
Seasoned writers may also revert to beginner status and fall under the spell of some of these mistakes because some of them trigger appealing results.
The main difference is beginners can rarely discriminate between a bad technique used here and there to boost productivity and results during a drought, and a bad writing routine and subpar professional habits.
Another significant difference is that the experienced writer can rely on previous good work to make up for occasional boo-boos.
Enough with the intro.
Let’s get to the point.
Here are 7 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make and How To Fix Them.
- Writing on critical topics when you have zero credentials in the respective field.
Many beginner writers consider fields such as psychology, personal development, or business-related advice easy to tackle topics.
What can be easier, right?
“How to tell if your partner is the one”, “10 Signs your relationship is toxic”, “How to start a successful business in 3 steps or less”, “How to be more confident”, etc.
Anyone can write these articles, right?
Yes. Anyone can write them but not everyone attempting would write them well.
These are fields where borrowing stuff randomly from the internet and relying on your vast life experience — even though you’re likely just 18 — is not enough to write a good piece of content.
And I’m not talking about the quality of the writing, it’s the quality of the recommendations that remains unchecked here.
These are fields where one needs to understand why a recommendation is made, and how to phrase it in a way that will trigger relevant results for the audience.
Botch these subjects and you get labeled as a fraud, scammer, or guru, but the worst potential effect of all is that you will likely lose the trust of your readers.
Turn that bad advice into a course or coaching session, and it may even get you sued.
How to fix it: Write about what you know. Write in the fields where you have formal training and proper licenses. When you lack formal training, base your writing on official, trustworthy sources — name them in your articles, and make sure you do not modify their message. Everything else, label as “opinion”. Be honest with your audience. Don’t pose as an expert when you are not one.
2. Emulating another writer’s style.
Maybe you appreciate a certain author. You want to be just like them when you grow up as a writer.
That is great to have in mind as a goal.
But no one wants a copycat.
It’s the original voices that will rise to the top.
How to fix it: Read your articles before hitting publish. See if they sound like you. Is this how you would talk about a certain topic to your friends or clients? Edit until you feel it’s your personality coming through the words on the paper or screen.
3. Not hitting “Publish” often enough.
Yes, many of us chase that perfect writing mood.
The clean desk, the sun shining through the window, quiet, coffee and cookies, and words flowing with no effort.
Yeah, ain’t gonna happen every day.
If all of us would wait for the mood to make an appearance before we start writing, or expect the results to always be nothing short of what we understand by perfection, we’d hit Publish once in a blue moon.
How to fix it: There is nothing wrong with polishing those pieces of writing that matter the most to you until you are absolutely happy with the outcome but when quantity is also a measure of success, tone down your perfectionism. Good enough is the goal for most of our articles. Keep in mind that you can always re-edit a post, or update your views on a topic.
4. Hitting “Publish” too often.
Yes, it’s a race. We all want to write as much as we can, on as many topics as we can and are interested in.
But we cannot be experts in everything and be ready to produce good content 24/7.
Choices have to be made to ensure the quality of the results.
How to fix it: Ask yourself if the article is covering a topic at a satisfactory level. Does it provide value to the reader? Are you proud of it? Does it make you cringe? Do you know why you wrote it? Assess the answers to these questions and to others similar to them, and decide whether the new post needs to go Public then and there, at a later time, or maybe never at all.
5. Borrowing someone else’s writing routine.
There are tons of articles and books about the writing routines of successful writers.
But you know why those routines worked for them?
Because the routine fits their personality and writing style.
It’s them who shaped the routine, not the other way around.
How to fix it: Observe your own habits and how they influence your writing results. Of course, you can draw inspiration from other writers — famous or not — but try and see how that habit works with your own lifestyle and work schedule. Keep what works, ditch the rest, and don’t be afraid to create your own elements to include in the routine. Also, remember that no routine may work just as well for some people. For example, I dislike anything that entails monotony. Strict routines would rather annoy me, not fuel my energy level.
6. Being too afraid to write.
You may know that you are capable of great or good enough things when it comes to writing but you find yourself fighting anxiety each time you want to start a writing session.
Maybe you even give up and procrastinate instead.
Low confidence can trap a beginner writer in a loop where no day is a good day to write, and nothing that comes out on paper or screen is valuable enough to be shown to the world.
How to fix it: Remember that everyone went through the beginner phase. Not everyone made it out though. Doubts go with the start of an activity. They can actually signal a good type of anxiety — the kind that shows you care. Humility is also a good resource when approaching our biggest goals. We will step carefully. However, we need to learn how to identify negative anxiety. The one that blocks our resources. It’s what screams “danger” when there isn’t any. Risk is part of everything. Making your writing public is a risky business, but nevertheless manageable. List your strengths, make plans for how to tackle your vulnerabilities, and learn how to deal with criticism. You’ll be fine.
7. Forgetting why you want to write in the first place.
It’s easy to get lost in this messy world where writing is often seen as a side-hustle and nothing more.
If you want to be a writer — of anything: books, blogs, online articles, etc — you need to always focus on your own why.
Your main reason for taking up writing in the first place is what can guide you when times get rough in your activity.
Lose sight of it and it can all become foggy, exhausting, and meaningless.
How to fix it: Well, if forgetting something is the problem, remembering it is the solution. No brainer, I know. But it’s as simple as that. Whenever you start writing, remind yourself why you do what you do. What is your main driving force? What is the main thing that you want to achieve, personally and professionally, through writing?
Bottom line, writing can be a wonderful, adventurous journey, or a bumpy ride.
In the end, it’s what we make of it.
Thank you for reading.