Mistake 14: Not Doing Enough Work Prior to Starting Your Actual Work

Author:
Publish date:

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer's Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: Too often writers jump into their project before doing the necessary groundwork, and they end up with a mess. Revising can only do so much. Sometimes starting writing too quickly
can leave you with a project that can’t be saved and waste a lot of your time and energy. It’s easier to pick the best point of view for your story before writing. It’s easier to figure out your characters’ backstories and primary motivators before writing. It’s easier to develop and understand the antagonist’s plan before writing. Get the picture?

Image placeholder title

Many of the mistakes listed here can be avoided prior to starting your writing.

The solution: Think through what you’re going to do before you do it. For every action you plan to take, ask yourself why, and make sure you have a good reason. Numerous writing books offer checklists for things like characters, but you actually almost need a checklist
for the entire writing project, covering all aspects of it, making sure you know what you plan to do and why you plan to do it.

Ultimately (and many new writers cringe to hear this) the best preparation for whatever form of writing you do—whether novel, short story, or article—is to create a practice form of that writing, toss it in a drawer, and then move on to another. For a novel writer, this is a particularly hard thing to hear.

Kelly_1:15

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_robert_lee_brewer

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.

Dulan_1:14

On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.

Brandt_1:14

Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.

plot_twist_story_prompts_moment_of_doubt_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Moment of Doubt

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience a moment of doubt.

dr_caitlin_oconnell_finding_connection_and_community_in_animal_rituals_author_spotlights

Caitlin O'Connell: Finding Connection and Community in Animal Rituals

In this post, Dr. Caitlin O'Connell shares what prompted her to write a book about finding connection and community in animal rituals, what surprised her in the writing process, and much more!

new_agent_alert_zeynep_sen_of_wordlink_literary_agency

New Agent Alert: Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Henick_1:13

Mark Henick: On Memory, Healing, and Languishing Projects

Author Mark Henick shares how he was able to turn a successful TEDx talk into a memoir, even when the project didn't come as quickly as he expected.