Skip to main content

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.

Image placeholder title

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.

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

Thinking of starting your own newsletter? Let freelance writer Sian Meades-Williams lay out 9 pros and cons of writing a newsletter.

How to Write a Compelling Premise for a Thriller

How to Create a Compelling Premise for a Thriller

Learn how to create a compelling premise for a thriller or mystery novel by asking a simple question and tying it to a specific circumstance to set the stage for a thrilling read.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Plan

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Plan

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters make a plan.

3 Tips for Writing Dystopian Young Adult Fiction

3 Tips for Writing Dystopian Young Adult Fiction

If you've ever heard it said that there's no new way to write a story, let author Julian R. Vaca tell you otherwise. Here, he shares 3 tips for writing dystopian young adult fiction to help silence our inner critics.

Rimma Onoseta: On Trusting the Process of Revision

Rimma Onoseta: On Trusting the Process of Revision

Author Rimma Onoseta discusses how seeing other Black female authors on bookshelves encouraged her to finish writing her contemporary YA novel, How You Grow Wings.

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover Reveal

Writer's Digest is excited to announce our Sept/Oct 2022 issue featuring our Annual Literary Agent Roundup, an interview with NYT-bestselling YA horror novelist Tiffany D. Jackson, and articles about writing sinister stories.

Your Story #120

Your Story #120

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

5 Tips for Writing as a Parent

5 Tips for Writing as a Parent

Author Sarah Grunder Ruiz shares how she fits writing into her life and offers 5 tips on how to achieve a sustainable writing life as a parent.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 621

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an animal poem.