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

Publish date:

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.

Image placeholder title

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.


Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.