10 Writing Myths Every New Writer Should Always 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.
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.
Writing a fiction novel and quickly publishing it on Amazon is not for all writers.
Being a writer covers a broad spectrum.
It can mean anything from writing books, personal blog posts, short stories, marketing articles, or poetry to academic, educational, and technical writing.
No matter what your field of writing or in what field you want to write, you can always succeed.
New writers often look for advice online.
But please don’t believe all the writing myths because they will only hold you back.
Here are my ten favorite writing myths that I believe you can ignore.
1. Writers have to write every day
You see this advice as one of the golden rules of writing all the time, and it’s so wrong.
Yes, some famous writers like Stephen King say that they write two 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.
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 mountaintop.
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 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 on 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.
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 some grammar knowledge if you want to be a writer.
But the essence of great writing is in the story, ideas, notions, emotions, and 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 lazy 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, 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.
Enjoy it, and do your best to become a terrific and productive writer. But never become obsessed with it.
You will struggle to reach your potential when you believe too many writing myths.
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, not your life into writing.
If you do that, you will continue to enjoy writing and publishing your work.
Related reading: How To Use Embedded Questions For Variety In Your Writing
4 thoughts on “10 Writing Myths Every New Writer Should Always Ignore”
Thanks for the article, Derek. I agree with your points in general. I do think it helps to have read widely before one makes the attempt to become a published writer, and one still needs to read when possible while making the attempt, to keep abreast of what’s current. But writing time for me certainly takes priority over reading time.
As for characters taking control of one’s writing, I agree it’s a myth. But there are times when drafting that inspiration about a character will strike and open up avenues I hadn’t considered before, and often I want to explore those avenues, being something of a pantser. Sure, I’m the author and in control of the story, but my curiosity gets the better of me. Succumbing to this curiosity can feel like the character has taken control. I enjoy those moments. Others might not, especially plotters, and that’s fair.
Thanks again for the article!
What a refreshing article, Derek. I loved every point, but especially the ones about needing to write every day and read a lot. Toni
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.
I hesitated about adding the point about reading, Valerie. But as I’m guilty of it, I thought it was worth a mention.
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