Today I thought I would share my thoughts with you on what writer’s shouldn’t do.
As always, these are just my opinions so feel free to ignore/disregard if you feel the need.
This is not a massively comprehensive list, there are many things writers shouldn’t do. Like, don’t tackle a policeman to the ground just to see what it’s like to be arrested. That should be considered a no-no.
So let’s get to it, Ari’s Things Writers Shouldn’t Do…
Don’t…Trust Everyone with your Story
As writer’s we have the delicate job of selecting people we want to read our novel, these are usually Beta Readers.
We may also want the opinion of friends and family. Now we should search out people who will help us, who will give us the feedback and support we need. However, this should not just be everyone and anyone who offers to read our work.
In the end, we do need to be careful about who we give our story too. In the worst case, someone could steal it – thankfully this is extremely rare.
Never let this keep you from finding great Beta Readers. On the smaller sides, people can sometimes share your story without meaning any harm.
There have been numerous instances of unpublished works, even by full-time authors that have found their way onto the internet.
Often the people that shared it didn’t mean any harm or they themselves shared it with another person and THAT person uploaded it.
Just be aware of the dangers of letting all and sundry read your manuscript. It is a precious thing.
Don’t… Read reviews
If you are published (either traditionally or self-published) it is advised that you don’t search out reviews. They are not for you, the author, they are for other readers.
If you want to make sure that your book is being reviewed favourably, ask someone you trust to look through some reviews – they could even go get a screen-grab for you.
Even if most of your reviews are positive, all it takes is a single comment about some part of your book that may be a little critical and your mind will grab hold and run with it.
We writers are crazy and easily spooked, our egos are pretty fragile at times and a little negative comment can leave us curled up under the table whimpering.
I have heard of authors who read their reviews so they can find out what issues their book has. Ouch! Don’t do this.
You should have edited, used Betas, CPs and a professional editor. If you are waiting for the reviews to see what issues need fixing, you’ve messed up big time!
Don’t… Tell everyone you meet about your book
Firstly, not everyone will be interested and boring people with details about your book isn’t good. If they are your target audience, if they ask, that’s different but don’t just launch into telling them on a whim.
Secondly, there will be people who see it as a stupid hobby/goal, they love to question and criticise your work, your idea, the very concept that you want to be a writer.
While you will meet people like this in your life, try to limit the exposure if possible. Writers deal with enough crippling doubt that we don’t need help from someone who feels the need to blast us with their negative opinions.
Thirdly, while it can nice to have accountability, it can be pretty stressful if every time you see that person you mentioned it to, they ask you how it’s going.
Especially if you have Writers’ Block or taking a hiatus for a while. Their constant quizzing can end up taking a toll and you start to get disheartened at your own progress (even if they are being enthusiastic and supportive).
Don’t… Compare yourself to other writers
Comparing yourself to anyone else is always a bad idea. Don’t underestimate yourself by comparing your abilities to others.
Everyone’s ability is different, everyone’s skills are different. If you focus on other people’s strengths, you will miss working on your own strengths.
Don’t… Worry about your age
There are a lot of writers around who seem to be worrying about their age. Your age is irrelevant.
There have been authors who published their work as teenagers, there are authors who didn’t start writing until they were in their 60s.
Age is not something to hold you back. Young or old, it doesn’t matter – your love for writing is what matters, your drive to tell your story.
Don’t… Worry about not being published
Personally, I always hope most writers are writers because they love writing – it is about telling the story not being published.
Though if that’s your dream, pursue it! Stop worrying about it and concentrate on the steps to achieve it – get your novel finished, get it edited and polished, get it beta read.
Then do some research into which avenue you want to take – self-publishing or traditional.
Lots of writers who appear to be worried or stressed that they aren’t published often have not even finished their novel, never mind edited and polished it.
Keep your eye on the goal but don’t forget to stay focused on the present.
Don’t… Talk shit about other writers
This appears to be growing in popularity at the moment, this bitching about other writers.
We are all artists, we are all walking our own path and we should support each other not tear each other down.
Be better than that, don’t talk shit about other writers to people. Even if you don’t like their work, you can be honest without being nasty.
“Other Authors are Not my competition,
I stand with them not against them”
Don’t… Use sockpuppets
Sockpuppets became a big thing on Amazon, I believe that was one of the reasons reviews are no longer anonymous.
Some writers were creating extra accounts just so they could leave positive reviews on their own books (pretty pathetic if you ask me) but worse, they were also using these multiple accounts to attack other writers by leaving negative reviews.
This is petty. Let your book stand on its own merits, rather than try and cheat the system. Let other authors’ books stand on their own merits too.
As I mentioned above, other writers are not your competition. We are a community, we should support and help each other.
Goes without saying but heck thought I’d throw it in any way. There are still reports (especially regarding ebooks) of writers plagiarising other writers. In fact, ebooks have made it easier for plagiarising.
One case that spread through the writing community was about the author Rachel Ann Nunes who’s book Love to the Highest Bidder was plagiarised by a school teacher called Tiffanie Rushton.
Rushton amended the story slightly by adding in adult content to an otherwise Christian book.
During the upheaval of this discovery, Rushton was believed to have created several sockpuppets which were used to harass Rachel Ann Nunes.
There is no need to plagiarise or steal another person’s work. If you are a writer then write your own story, if you are unable to then maybe writing isn’t for you.
Do you have any other suggestions of what writers should NOT do?