What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Talking too much about writing.
There are many common traps for aspiring writers. And this was me at one time. I think aspiring writers tend to like to talk about writing and post on social media about writing, but rarely sit their butt in the chair and write their story. It doesn’t matter if it’s magazine articles, screenplays, novels, or non-fiction, I see so many people talking about writing more than they write.
Too much research
I can’t begin to tell you how bad I used to be. “I can’t start writing because I need to know about this…and this…oh, and this! Next thing you know, you’ve spent six months trolling the web and have a bunch of nonsense, research notes about things you’ll never use, and yet not one word written on your book or article. Start writing. If you come to a place where you need to research something, add a highlight (need to research clones) and keep writing. When you’ve hit your goal for the day, go back and do some quick research for what you needed and fill it in. But only after you’re finished with your goal. Or you can wait until the entire book is done and fill in on the rewrite.
Getting sucked into courses and books
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great writing courses available (and they don’t cost $500+), and books galore. But seriously, how many courses are you going to take? How many books do you need to read on dialogue, plot, conflict, structure and characters before you just sit down and start writing?
The first draft has to be polished
The first draft needs to be written. That’s it. If you spend too much time polishing the first three chapters, you’ll never get to “the end.” It’s not easy to stop yourself from going back and making changes. Instead, take notes along the way and keep moving forward. When you get to “the end” you can go back and polish to your heart’s content. We call it the vomit draft. Get the words on the page, so there’s something to fix. Writing is rewriting.
Traditionally published writers have it easier because their publishing house does all of the marketing and media.
Sure, that may be true if you’re James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, or Nora Roberts, because the publisher has a lot of money tied up in the success of those authors. If you’re an unknown who received a $5000 advance, you’ll be doing all of your own marketing and publicity, and it will all be coming out of your own pocket.
Write it and they will come.
The last of the common traps for aspiring writers I have for you its this. If anyone had told me that I’d spend more time working to get my name and books out to readers, to increase my visibility, I’d have laughed. And I’d probably have passed on becoming a writer. I like writing stories, not trying to find the next way to get my books in front of readers. Learning Photoshop for making images, learning to write ad copy, finding placed to put the ad copy and images, tweaking online advertisements, posting on social media. These all take an extraordinary amount of time, and they take away from being able to write the next story.
There are so many common traps for aspiring writers, but I think these are biggies. What traps do you think aspiring writers fall for? I’d love to read about it in the comments.