10 Common Writing Myths Every New Writer Should Ignore

Writing Myths You Can Ignore

It’s easy for a new writer to believe many of the writing myths you read about online.

However, most of them are untrue or are at least stretching the truth. If you are a new writer, a lot of the advice you read can affect your confidence.

Writing and publishing might not be for everyone. But if that’s what you have your heart set on doing, there’s nothing to stand in your way.

Forget all about the myths, and focus on your passions, strengths, and what you want to achieve.

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10 Common but untrue writing myths

There are so many articles and stories about writing published online every day, like this one.

But a lot of them focus on the difficulties attached to writing and especially publishing a book.

Yet, there are so many facets to writing and publishing that go way beyond writing a fiction book and quickly publishing it on Amazon.

Being a writer can mean anything from writing books, personal blog posts, short stories, marketing articles or poetry, to academic and educational writing.

No matter what your field of writing or in what field you want to write, you can always succeed.

But please don’t believe all of the writing myths because they will only hold you back.

 

1. Writers have to write every day

You see this advice all the time, and it’s so wrong.

Yes, some famous writers like Stephen King say that they write a thousand words every day. But I doubt that it’s true.

In any profession, working seven days a week is a recipe for burnout. You need a life, so you don’t need to write every day.

However, writing regularly and improving your writing skills and productivity is good advice.

If you are writing a book, leaving two or three weeks between writing sessions will make it difficult to maintain your flow of ideas.

But if you can arrange your schedule so you can write for a couple of hours, two, three, or four times a week, that’s fine.

For an article writer, there’s much more to do than to write. There’s all the research plus SEO and perhaps technical issues to work on.

Trying to hammer out a couple of long-form articles every day doesn’t make sense at all.

No, it’s a writing myth that writers have to write seven days a week. But yes, good writers do write regularly.

 

2. Writers must read a lot

Reading a lot will definitely make you an excellent reader.

But reading is not going to write your book, article, or short story.

Sure, you need to read for research or to note different writing styles. Reading can also be viewed as a productive way for a writer to relax.

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However, using too much of your time reading will rob you of your precious writing time.

Writing is a learn-by-doing skill, so the more you write and improve, the better you become.

Yes, read. But don’t let it overtake your writing time.

 

3. Lock yourself away

If you want to write, find your writing space and make sure no one disturbs you. It’s another writing myth.

Writers are not solitary creatures who have to lock themselves away in a cave high on a mountain top.

Many writers like to work in a crowded and noisy café or a park full of people. There’s no rule that says you can’t write when there are people around you.

It’s your choice as to where your write. If you like to hear the sound of the world when you write, then go for it. But for others, a quiet office or study is fine too.

 

4. You need a university degree to be a writer

There are no qualifications that make you a writer.

If you have reasonable grammar and spelling skills, you can be a writer. And even if you don’t, an editor can fix those things.

The primary qualities a writer needs are imagination, creativity, and in-depth knowledge of a subject.

 

5. Your characters control your writing

Well, no. You are the author, and your characters can’t do anything to help you write because they are fictional.

When you write a book, the only person who is driving your writing is you and your imagination.

It really is a tired cliché and an old writing myth that your fictional characters can take charge of your writing.

 

6. Writers don’t make any money

It’s true that there are very few writing millionaires.

But there are a lot of writers making a decent income. Many self-published authors are in the bestseller lists on Amazon and make good money.

Then there are content writers and bloggers who make a very good living from writing.

As an example. one young enterprising ghostwriter made over $350,000 in one year.

There are so many ways to earn an income from writing and self-publishing.

As an aside, you don’t think I write a lot of articles and maintain this blog for no financial reward, do you?

 

7. If you’re a good writer, you’ll always succeed

Being a successful writer today is more than about writing well.

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You need to find the best way to publish either a book or your articles. Then you need to know how to promote and attract readers and book buyers.

A brilliant writer who is hopeless at marketing and promotion will struggle. But a good marketer and promoter who can write a bit will usually succeed.

If you can do both well, your chances of success will be very good.

 

8. Good writers are grammar fanatics

Yes, it helps to have a bit of grammar knowledge if you want to be a writer.

But the essence of great writing is in the story, ideas, notions, emotions, and the depth of your knowledge.

The best writing is always what people want to read. You can fix grammar mistakes or inconsistencies very easily.

But it’s much more difficult to fix a piece of writing that is grammatically perfect, but shallow, boring, and dull.

 

9. Writer’s block

Here’s one of the biggest writing myths.

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. But there is laziness, tiredness and simply not feeling in the mood to write.

You can’t be on fire every minute. When you are too lethargic to cook and order a pizza, do you have a cooking block?

All writers go through periods when the words won’t flow, or the ideas dry up. It’s normal, but it is not a condition.

Take a break and relax, or go for a walk and clear your head. Pushing yourself too hard won’t help you write better.

 

10. Writing is an obsession

Obsessions are never a good thing.

You can be enthusiastic and passionate, but having a fixation is not a positive asset for a writer.

There’s a time and place for everything in your life, and writing is only one part of it.

Enjoy it and do your best to become a terrific and productive writer. But never become obsessed with it.

 

Conclusion

When you believe many of the writing myths, you will struggle to reach your potential.

If you want to become a writer or a better writer, you can do it without following a set of imaginary rules.

Do what works for you and helps you fit writing into your life and not your life into writing.

If you do that, you will continue to enjoy writing and publishing your work.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

3 thoughts on “10 Common Writing Myths Every New Writer Should Ignore

  • Avatar for Toni Pike
    April 12, 2021 at 11:13 am
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    What a refreshing article, Derek. I loved every point, but especially the ones about needing to write every day and read a lot. Toni

    Reply
  • Avatar for Valerie Poore
    April 10, 2021 at 5:15 pm
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    Ah, a fellow ESL teacher. Great points, Derek. There’s just one thing, though. While I agree about reading taking time away from writing, I think reading is valuable for seeing how others write and learning from it. As a (mostly) memoir writer, I’ve learnt so much from reading other memoirs and taking note of what works and what doesn’t, so I feel reading can definitely help us improve our writing.

    Reply
    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      April 10, 2021 at 6:30 pm
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      I hesitated about adding the point about reading, Valerie. But as I’m guilty of it, I thought it was worth a mention.

      Reply

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