We've all made them. I've made them, JK Rowling made them, Stephanie Meyer made them and chances are if you are a writer you have made them too, or you are going to make them. And this is okay. One thing I've learned on this writing journey is that it is okay to make mistakes - as long as you recognise them as mistakes.
Here are some of the mistakes aspiring writers commonly make.
1. Looking for an agent or a publisher before completing (and by completing I mean polishing, editing, setting aside, editing again and then once more for good measure) a project. I didn't actually do this one - I finished my first writing project and then google searched 'how to get published' before I started contacting agents and publishers. And my work wasn't published, or particularly good, hence my inbox was soon swamped with rejections which yours will be too if you don't finish the project first!
2. Waiting for inspiration to hit. The thing about inspiration is that you really have no control over it and it strikes in the most inoppotune moments. Like at 2am, or when you are in the shower, to at school pick up time or in the middle of grocery shopping. In those instances make a quick note to remind yourself later and move on with whatever you were doing (or those moms in the car pool line will honk at you). But as a writer you have to write - set aside regular time, write whenever you aren't 'feeling it' and just keep writing. Worse case scenario is what you write isn't very good and gets deleted but you might also surprise yourself. And waiting for inspiration can be like waiting for a lotto win...it might come or it might not and in the meantime your writing career is passing you by.
3.Trying to write something different. I've struggled with this one. I tried to write high concept ideas that no one else had thought of when what I really wanted to write about was rock bands and first love. But there are so many rock band novels, there are so many first love tales that I didn't think there was room for mine. Trust me. There is always room for more in every genre and if you write well, write what you love to read, then it will work out.
4. Deciding not to read in your genre because you don't want to accidentally plagiarise. Read. Read. Read. Whenever I am stuck I take a few days, maybe a week or even two, and read widely within my genre. Not only am I doing something I love, reading some great stories but I find my muse returns and I am back over that writers block. And funnily enough I don't actually use the plots, the characters or other elements from any one novel in my own work - it inspires my own ideas. So read. And read widely.
5. Not setting aside specific times to write. I still struggle with this. Sometimes I will write for ten hours straight (hello 20,000 words) and othertimes I will squeeze out half an hour. I am trying to find a regular schedule to write within but at the moment, for my lifestyle and with my family and work commitments it doesn't quite work. I take it on a day by day basis.
Hopefully these help! I found just reflecting back over these 'mistakes' helpful and am going to pull out my diary and schedule writing time. Right now.
bye for now,