Three Common Writing Mistakes To Avoid
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If you’re here, chances are that you have heard it all.
Write smaller sentences. Active voice over passive voice, always. Write just the way you talk.
Yada! Yada! Yada! Bleh! Blah! Bloop!
I will spare you the horror of reading that all over again. No conventional pointers.
Practical advice; simple solutions.
Disregarding the process
Transitions, character development or expressing a specific emotion are some techniques that require time, patience and practice. Time gives your writing the space to breathe. Patience bequeaths the virtue of strength; an absolute necessity for any artist. Practice brings in the element of effortlessness that renders a sweet flow.
But we live in the era of instant gratification. Thus, most of us end up violating any of these three parameters, indirectly disregarding the process. What you must understand as a novice writer is the repercussion of your actions.
If you have already lost your cool, then here’s a solution. Detach yourself from your art once you’re done.
Make a fresh smoothie.
Go for a run.
Clear your head and then come back.
Understanding your triggers and catalysts
When it comes down to writing, there’s no right or wrong way to do things. Inspiration strikes when it strikes. However, very few people talk about their writing muscle.
No, it’s not an actual muscle.
[Rachel, it’s metaphor, Daddy]
Understand that you are human. Your mind is in several states throughout the day depending on external events and circumstances. But when you pay attention to the recent past, and the occurrences before or during your writing sessions, only then will you understand what your potential triggers do to your writing muscle.
Mark Twain wrote from the comfort of his bed. Dan Brown hung himself upside down. Hemingway had a standing desk. Francine Prose likes to face a wall when she writes. Personally, I like to meditate for a stretch of 10 minutes or read at least twenty pages before I can start writing. On some days, I wrap up every possible errand before I sit on my chair and type away.
Every writer is different. Every writing muscle is different. You must what relaxes your writing muscle.
Measurable Doesn’t Mean The Number of Words
Management books have taught us otherwise, haven’t they? Well, SMART goals are okay but measuring your worth in the number of words that we write?! Are you sure?
Well, here’s a minor example.
You set a goal of writing 3,000 words every day. It is reasonable. Inclusive of extensive research. Ideally, it should take you approximately 6-7 hours.
But, what if you stop at 2,500 words when you averaged 2,000 words before?
Would you call that day unproductive?
I see you. You’re mumbling, “it depends.”
…which is a fair argument.
Here’s where the number of words as a measure of productivity becomes a major fallacy. We’ve been trained to believe that goals must be measured in terms of the output we receive.
James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, seriously claimed that the equation must be reversed. Trust me, it works wonders for writers. You measure your efforts.
Instead of measuring the number of words, let try I need to invest six hours to write every day. Research and editing would work best in the morning slot, outlines can come together an hour before dinner and the rest of it can together in the wee hours of the morning.
You’ve taken the goal, understood what it would take on your part to keep your end of the bargain.
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Writing professionally requires some amount of discipline and the patience to find your habits and correct them. Get that sorted and you will find your rhythm.
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