The 10 Most Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

November 10, 2012

This post was written by Shane Jones

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Red Pen
When you are a writer, you are in control of your own business, your own workload and your own money. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to properly manage all of these aspects. It can be difficult to manage the business side of your career as well as the quality of your actual writing. Mistakes are bound to happen.

Here are some of the most common mistakes writers make, so you can learn from them without having to make them yourself.

  1. Procrastination – When you give in to procrastination, you just place more stress on yourself later. You’ll end up writing lower-quality work and missing opportunities. Instead, set up a work schedule you can stick to so you’re not tempted put assignments off.
  2. Editing While You Write – As you are writing, you may feel like you need make changes. But the more you stop to edit, the less you let your creative juices flow. You’ll end up with higher-quality work if you just write without worrying about editing and then come back later to clean up.
  3. Being too Picky – When you work for yourself, it’s easy to be choosey about which projects you want to work on. Unfortunately, being too picky can turn into a bad habit that costs you clients, money and opportunities. You don’t have to write everything that comes your way, but you shouldn’t reject it all either.
  4. Overbooking – When you need money, it can be tempting to take every bit of work you are offered. Beware of committing to too many projects at once, as you can run the risk of being rushed, producing low-quality work, missing deadlines and losing clients.
  5. Not Giving Your Work Time – If you write and then immediately proofread and turn in your work, you are bound to miss mistakes. You cannot fully process your writing when it is fresh on your mind. It is important to give yourself time away from your work before editing it and deciding it is the best it can be.
  6. Not Knowing What You’re Worth – You should never undersell yourself as a writer. If you sell yourself short, you’ll never succeed in your writing business. Don’t make the mistake of thinking clients will gravitate toward writers with lower rates. Clients know how much a good writer should charge and if you have a low rate, they are likely to assume you’re not a very good writer.
  7. Not Saving Money – If you don’t put a substantial amount of your income into savings, you’ll be in big trouble when tax season rolls around. Without money in savings, your business will also suffer during slow periods. Not planning for future situations will kill your writing career quicker than the best mosquito control wipes out pests.
  8. Failing to Market Your Services –  If you don’t market your business, you are missing opportunities left and right. You never know when you may lose clients and need more work, so you should always be marketing yourself to gain new clients and maintain a steady work flow.
  9. Not Following Up – When you apply for writing positions or submit pitches, remember that no response doesn’t necessarily mean “no.” Often, the people you are writing to are very busy and can overlook or forget about you. It is your job to remind them! Not following up leads to missing opportunities.
  10.  Underestimating the Client Relationship – Without people to write for, you are out of work. Your clients are the most important part of your business and they should be treated as such. Being disrespectful and missing deadlines is an easy way to lose valuable clients.

You will make mistakes as a writer; it’s human nature. What is important is you learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge to improve your business and yourself. Avoiding these mistakes will have you well on your way to a successful writing career. Good luck!

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