There are some types of writers that others just want to avoid at all costs. To help you make sure you aren’t one of them, here’s a list of 5 things you want to avoid doing as a writer. Let’s get started!
#1: Don’t Stick Your Chest Out
You don’t want to put down other writers, or treat them as your competition. Other writers are your allies, not your opponents. Remember that a reader can buy more than one book, and being friendly to others writers will help you both to get more exposure. More than that, remember that other writers are human beings. They have feelings, and a lot of them work very hard for their successes. It really shouldn’t have to be said that people should be polite and respectful of other people, but alas, here we are. It’s okay, for example, if you didn’t like somebody’s book. But, you can express that in a considerate, respectful way, rather than “trash-talking” them online.
Also, know that nobody has perfect writing. Some writers act like they are the best thing to hit the world, and this is not a good way to interact with your writing community, or approach your writing in general. Everybody has things they can improve upon and learn, even people who are largely successful and well-known. Learn what you can from your fellow writers, and approach your writing with the mind-set of always wanting to get better.
#2: Don’t Just Take
Don’t just “take, take, take”. You want to give back to the writing community and engage in it. On Twitter, that might mean following somebody back. In writing groups, maybe that means a critique for a critique. The idea is to support other writers, especially those who have shown support to you. Interact with your fellow writers, give back to the community. It doesn’t always have to be so direct as “like for like” either. Maybe, like myself, blogs have really helped you to improve your writing. Now, I blog to share the things I have learned and experienced as a way of giving back, because I remember how much they helped me.
#3: Don’t Brag
Don’t be all talk. By this, I mean you shouldn’t just boast about the things you plan to do. You need to actually write. It can be good to talk about your writing, but there has to be writing to talk about. This isn’t to say you should avoid talking about your plans at all, but there needs to be action to support those plans. Talking about what you plan to do all of the time can actually decrease the effectiveness of your plans. Basically, your brain tends to mistake you talking about it for actually working on it, and makes you feel like you’ve done more than you have. It’s great to have plans, but you need to actually work to complete them. In addition to the fact that you won’t get anything done just talking about it, people will get sick of somebody who is always bragging, especially if they haven’t put in that hard work yet.
#4: Don’t Be the Pity Party
Don’t be somebody looking for constant sympathy about writing, either. Everybody has trouble writing, and it’s good to look for helpful advice and information that you can’t find yourself, but constant complains and expressions of self-doubt online are a no. If you complain about writing that much, people are gonna start to wonder why you even do it. If you are always expressing online that you don’t think your writing is any good, why are people going to read it? Would you buy a book from somebody that was always saying how terrible it was? You need to have pride and passion in your work. Writing is hard, and self-doubt is natural, but you do this work because you love it, right? Try to show more of your passion for writing, and be proud of the hard work you are doing. Understand that you can always improve, and try to focus on that. Rather than Tweeting that your dialogue is awful, look for blogs, vlogs, etc. that can help you make it better. Then, instead of Tweeting in a negative way, you could share a post that helped you improve, which will help your audience improve, as well.
#5: Don’t Assume You’ll Be A Millionaire
I see a lot of people who seem to be “aspiring millionaires”, not writers. Bottom line, if you’re just into writing for the money, you really shouldn’t be doing it. Most writers don’t make a lot (I think the average full-time writer makes minimum wage). There are much easier ways to get rich if that’s what you’re looking for. Writing is hard, and it’s only meant for people who just can’t help doing it. Nobody likes that writer that is always talking about how their book is going to make them the next J.K. Rowling (these writers also tend to be the braggers, too). If you love writing, great, do it. Just know that while it’s great to have hopes and sales goals, you should make your expectations more realistic. It’s possible to do extremely well, but it can’t just be assumed that will happen right away.
In short, try to be considerate and realistic in approaching the writing community and business. It’s important to treat others well, work hard, and have a passion for the craft.
How are you trying to improve yourself as a writer? Are there any other tips you think would help people be better writers?
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With all of this in mind, go out and write your masterpiece!