Mistake 13: Not Having an Idea That’s Different Enough

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from the Writer’s Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: There is an inherent catch-22 in writing: You have to learn the craft of writing, yet if you follow the rules of the craft too closely, you become like everyone else who can read an instruction manual. Every idea, pretty much every story, has been done before. Elsewhere I mention the value of studying those who have mastered the craft of writing. That’s all well and good, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to put your own stamp on your writing.

In the same manner, too many writers are concerned about what’s hot now and what’s selling now. The problem with this line of thinking is twofold. What’s hot now is a ship that has already sailed—anything you sell now will have to be hot a year from now. And what will be selling
a year from now is anybody’s guess. Usually, it’s good writing.

The solution:
Look inside yourself and find your own passion and creativity. Apply that passion and creativity to learning the craft and then putting your own spin on things. There is no one else out there who is you. This is how you become different enough. By being you. No one else has lived your life and has had your experiences and possesses your brain.

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