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Mistake 8: Letting Your Ego Run Amok

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

Why this is a mistake: Too many people want what they envision being a writer is, as opposed to what being a writer really is. They envision the book racked in the store, the book signing, being at a party and saying “I’m an author.” The reality is that 99 percent of an author’s life consists of writing. Sitting alone with pad and paper or in front of a computer and creating something out of nothing. There is very little ego-stroking involved in being a writer, since the majority of a writer’s life involves working alone.

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The solution: Being a writer is about the writing, not the end result of writing. Pretty much every published author I know dreads events such as book tours and agent/editor meetings. Focus on the process of being a writer, not the trappings of being a writer. The reality is not all it appears to be. Do not try to take shortcuts to getting published or to misrepresent yourself or to cheat. One thing to remember about getting published in any format: The printed word is out there for anyone to see and double-check, so any shortcuts taken will come back to haunt you.

Being a writer is about creating, through words, a construct that comes alive in readers’ minds. Yet the reader is always separate from the writer. Therefore, the writer has to be satisfied with sitting alone 99 percent of the time with just the creating.

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