Not writing constantly – If you call yourself a writer, then
you had better be writing. In fact, you should be writing
constantly, every single day if you can. What do you write?
Write an article on something, anything, that you feel you
can write about.
Giving into writer's block – You can defeat writer's block.
You are a writer, so write. Can't write? Just start writing
and don't worry about what comes out.
Re-writing too many times – Some writers like to edit and
rewrite an article over and over again. Personally, I write
a pretty good article the first time and one quick edit
usually finishes it up. Some people need a few more edits.
But don't over edit. Your job is to communicate words
and concepts on paper, not edit them to death.
Not editing enough – No matter how good your first drafts are,
be sure and look it over at least once for spelling mistakes
and grammar errors.
Plagiarizing – It's perfectly okay to get ideas from other
articles, books, movies, and even television shows. It's not
okay to steal another writers work, and it's also not
acceptable to paraphrase an article. You can quote from other
sources (this is called "fair use") but you cannot make
other's work your own.Talking about an article before writing
it – I know of very few people who can talk about an article
concept with another person and then successfully write that
article later. Writing is communicating on paper (or on a
computer), not talking about what you want to write.
Asking people if your writing is "okay" – If you are taking a
class in writing, then this is a fine thing to do. Otherwise,
I wouldn't bother trying to get criticism from anyone except
a professional editor. Before I learned this lesson, I
stopped writing more articles than I can count simply because
of others tearing my work apart. Now, I don't ask for or
accept criticism on my works, unless it's from a professional
editor to whom I am attempting to sell one of my articles. It
is acceptable to get criticism from one's agent, as that is
one of the tasks that an agent is paid to do.
Worrying about what to write about – Don't worry about what
to write: just write. That's what writers do, they write.
There is no need to waste time to find a subject or something
that will sell or anything else. Just pick something you know
well and write about it.
Not using query letters – If you really want to get your
articles published, you need to be sending out dozens of query
letters every single day. How is this done? Simply pick up your
most recent copy of Writer's Market, pick a magazine or other
publisher, think of an idea they might be interested in, and
write a letter pitching that idea to the magazine (or other)
editor. Be sure to follow the guidelines given by the magazine
(you can get this from Writer's Market, on the web or by
sending a request to the publication). You may only get one
bite out of a hundred, but if you don't ask you won't get any
Why use query letters instead of writing articles? Writing an
article can take a significant amount of time. It's wise to
find an editor who is at least marginally interested before
taking the time to write a full article. Query letters must be
written fast and often to be effective.
Writing in someone else's style – You are a unique individual
with your own talents, faults, goals, objectives, abilities
and characteristics. You also have your own unique writing
style. Be yourself when you write; if you are someone else
(and you write like someone else) you will never make the big
times. This does not mean you shouldn't experiment with
different writing styles; it means you should make each style
your own as you write.
Asking other writers for advice – This is fine if you are
taking a class taught by a writer. In most other instances,
unless the writer is a good friend, you have to understand
that other writers are competitors. Unless they are very
ethical, it's very likely they may be trying to discourage you
or move you away from their own preferred market.
Keeping poor records – Create a record-keeping system and
stick to it. There is little more embarrassing (or time-
wasting) than sending out the same article twice (or more) to
the same editor who rejected it the first time.
Not treating writing as a business – Keep good records of
expenses and income, and treat it all as important and vital.
You have to pay taxes and you may need to account for any
money. Also, expenses (and even your home office) are often
write-offs on taxes.
Not checking facts and doing proper research – Getting a fact
wrong now and again won't kill you, but it does effect your
credibility. Get major facts wrong too often, and you may find
that you cannot sell anything anymore.
Not handling copyright infringement – If someone steals your
work without compensation, handle it fast and efficiently.
Talk nicely, then not so nicely, then call in the lawyers.
You own the copyright, so enforce it.
About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at http://www.internet-tips.net – Visit our website any time to
read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your
internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.
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