Doubtful Writing Habits You Should Forget About

November 18, 2015 | By | 3 Replies More

LindaBeing an author is not the hardest job in the world. You rely on your imagination to make a concept. Then, all you need to do is sit down and write. Well, at least that’s how this profession looks to a complete outsider. To an actual author, completing a novel or even a short story may turn out to be the most torturous process of all. There is no writer in the world who isn’t trying to become more effective and productive. You planned to complete the draft by the end of this month? Surprise, surprise: you’re not even close!

Have you ever analyzed your writing habits? It’s time to get introspective, since your approach may be slowing your success down. If you notice that you stick to some of the following habits, you must work on changing them without delays!

  1. You try to mimic outdated writing style

Historical fiction is always popular. People love authors that throw them into an era they would like to envision. If you have an idea for such novel, go for it! However, you shouldn’t even think about mimicking the style of authors who wrote in that time. Your readers would love a story set in the Baroque, but they would never read it if you used the exaggerated expressions of that time.

  1. Using looong words, sentences and paragraphs

You just finished a chapter that’s dragged across thirty pages? There are no dialogs in it? The paragraphs are endless and the sentences are complex? No one will read it! Break it down in few chapters and shorten the sentences.

Hemingway knew how to do it right, so take For Whom the Bell Tolls and read it from a reader’s perspective. Don’t you just love the rhythm of his sentences? You don’t need a dictionary to understand what he is saying, but every word touches your deepest emotions. That’s the effect an author should go for.

  1. Irrelevant dialogues

Dialogues are great. They keep the reader entertained and they add a faster pace to the story. You don’t have to explain everything in narration; a deep dialogue is much more powerful than any narrator. However, you should never hold on too tight to lines that are not relevant to the chapter and the story itself. That’s a great way to waste your time on parts you or your editor will get rid of later on.

  1. Editing and proofreading your own work

Of course you should edit and proofread your first draft before submitting it to an editor. However, you should realize one thing: just as an editor could never be a successful writer, you are never going to be a professional editor. You should always delegate this part of your work to someone you trust.

Professional editing costs money, but it’s an inevitable expense.

  1. Following the stereotypes

Contemporary readers love vampires, adventure, and tainted love stories. Do you know how many authors of those genres are popular? You can count them on one hand. The ones who try to imitate that trend are countless. If you follow the stereotypes that have overcome our world, you’ll be doomed to oblivion.

Your freedom as a writer has no boundaries. Explore it! Instead of serving stories you think people would like to read, you should create something you would love to read. Maybe you’ll be the founder of a new trend.

  1. Inconsistency

The world is not black and white. Every situation has shades that don’t allow you to be too opinionated. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need a point of view. When you are trying to prove something through the characters and the plot of your story, you should take a stand and be consistent.

Consistency is also a rule of narration. If you’re writing in first-person narration, you should keep the third-person narration minimal. If, on the other hand, you opt for third-person narration, you should not fall into the trap of exposing personal the personal opinions of your characters. Thinking about consistency during the writing process will save you a lot of time you would spend in fixing those flaws.

All above-listed habits are bad, so you should do your best to switch your mindset. There is one habit that prevents a writer from doing that: being too confident that she is the best and the critics know nothing. Self-criticism is a good thing when it’s in a healthy dose. Analyze your style and practices and do everything in your power to become a better writer!

Linda is a professional editor, blogger and freelance writer. She is interested in techniques, which improve overall productivity and writing hacks. Follow Linda on Twitter.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Lisa says:

    Agree on the whole but have to say, long and fancy words, and complex sentences have their place in lit too. Not a glut of them but variety is the spice of life! People do read it, it’s literary fiction.

  2. Some very pertinent points on writing habits but have you actually read For Whom the Bell Tolls? It contains some of the strangest, clunkiest dialogue and repetitive descriptive writing known to woman! The book in which the phrase “Did the earth move for you?” was first coined – I rest my case!
    Look forward to more blogs.

    Ardella Jones
    @ Chalk the Sun

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