Critique Group

Beginner Mistakes

In Dawn Allen on August 28, 2013 at 8:00 am

The beginning writer struggles with some of the same things every writer does; insecurity, ego, missing skill sets, lacking inner conviction, and the list goes on. New to the craft writers ride a line between ego highs – I have the talent. I can do this – and ego lows – WTH am I thinking? I can’t do this – and like any business, writing requires a level approach. First thing a beginning writer has to do is:

Get your ego in check: Develop confidence in your work as you grow but understand from the beginning that you aren’t likely going to waltz into a publishing deal where everyone is thrilled to roll out the red carpet for you. Like all artists, you will have to pay your dues.

Understand that writing isn’t what matters, rewriting is: What you put on the page the first time is immaterial. Every bestseller will tell you their first drafts suck. The skill you must master more than any other is the ability to take the diamond in the rough and carefully carve and polish it until it is the gem that will pop off bookstore shelves.

Find your flaws: Every writer has weak areas, everything from diction – word choices that you repeat ridiculously – to plot holes a Sumo wrestler could walk through. Make use of every tool you can to identify your flaws so that the manuscript doesn’t suffer. Good critique partners are huge for this. Find some and improve your writing and skills.

Assume you know nothing: A beginning writing knows a lot less than he/she thinks. The best policy to adopt is I don’t know so I’m going to learn. Take classes, go to conferences, read books on craft, subscribe to Writer’s Digest and/or Writer Magazine, educate yourself non-stop.

Find a professional mentor: A published writer who can offer insights and cheerlead can make a big difference when things get particularly difficult. Writers can be quite supportive. When you reach that pinnacle yourself, remember this and give back to a new writer.

What mistakes did you make as a beginner?



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