Article Title: Thirty Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (from Online Creative Writing Course)
Category (key words): Writing, Creative Writing, Writing Hints/Tips, Creative Writing Course, Writing Course, Online Writing Course (enough there for now, craig!)
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(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, 'spiritual writings' (how 'airey-fairey'), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig)

The submitter's blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at and

We hope that the following article (which is a lesson from our online writing course) may be informative and helpful to your e-zine readers, or on your web site. If it helps others "out there" in any way, then we're very happy. .

"We share what we know, so that we all may grow."

"If you have knowledge, let others light a candle to it."
- Margaret Fuller

That's a metaphor, btw!




This article was based on a book titled 'The Twenty Nine Most Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them'. The book was written by Judy Delton and published by Writers Digest Books in Cincinatti, Ohio, U.S.A. I've changed the style a bit, and added a few more points of my own. This piece is in point form, as I've already elaborated (nice long word 'dat') on most of these things. Thanks so much, Judy for sharing your knowledge and insights, which I'm passing on in the form of this article!

Put on your Nikes and let the lesson begin (to roar of trumpets and the Star Spangled Banner)...

1. Don't procrastinate - do it NOW. Warm up, write about anything you want to.

2. Don't talk away your story to other people, instead of getting down to writing it.

3. Don't try to write the best article or story in the world. No one should seek perfection - at least, not as you take your first steps in writing. Just get the words down on paper. However, as you gain confidence, you can strive for excellence.

4 Don't wear blinkers. See life through the eyes of a writer. Easy, now you are one. A philosopher!

5. Don't edit as you write - it breaks the flow. Don't stop to admire or criticize your work. Only revise and rewrite once your work is completed. Then you can view it as a whole.

6. Don't generalize - use specific images. They add meaning and vitality to your words.

7. Don't tell: Rather SHOW. Use dialogue and incident rather than a long narrative to get you from point A to point B.

8. Contrast and compare regularly.

9. Don't depend on adjectives. Rather use strong verbs. "The old man's eyes raked the nubile young thing. "Lecherous old "bugger"!

10. Don't use cliches and overdone words. Still remember any?

11. Don't overdo punctuation (what we learnt at school!).

12. Don't forget your theme.

13. Remember: You need a beginning, a middle and an end to your article or story.

14. Keep to the point and don't digress. Must remember that one, as I have a wandering mind and tend to waffle on. Read my "whacky" books to find out. But I do try to entertain.

15. Don't self-express and communicate your own self to your readers (unless you're writing an autobiography or that's the intended purpose of your writing). Why not?
Because you're telling a story through your characters. I disagree with Judy slightly on that one.

16. Don't get too personal, but be universal. Mildly disagree. What do you think? Let me know your opinions, should you wish.

17. Don't preach or opinionate. Let the reader discover the message for themself. Yes.

18. Research, but don't overdo the story with unnecessary facts and figures.

19. Don't use all "I" and "me" - use the third person form of writing.(must heed that one!)

20. Rewrite ...and rewrite. Very very important. Was that bad to use two 'very's'? You learn by practice.

21. Don't be obsessed with trivial concerns. Ask yourself: Is it necessary to include in the story? In my novel 'THE NEW RAINBOW', my dear 'wif' Marie asked why I included the Jewish couple the Greenbergs, because they had a very minor part in the plot. However, my purpose was to deliberately include a Jew in the spectrum of the diverse "Rainbow Nation" of South Africans. Jew have played a very important part in the economic development of that country. I included it as an experience from "my world". For once "the big boss" didn't get her way and kick me in the "goolies"!
Why I don't talk with a squeaky voice.

I'm in the "whacky" mode of writing after just finishing rewriting 'DROPPED OUT IN GODZONE'.

22. Find the right markets for your work. Ask yourself: Who is your article or book aimed at (bad writing, Craig - don't end a sentence with a "preppie"!).

23. Then don't want (nor expect) everybody to read your book, because as writers, we should accept
that you can't please everybody all of the time... or even some of the people some of the time. I know too much of my "wacky" style will "piss some people off", so I change it in other more serious works.

I'd be interested in what you think of it... because I have a long book 'STEPS TO SUCCESS,PROSPERITY AND HAPPINESS'. About 450 pages of it.

24. Don't listen to opinion and criticism of your work from family and friends. Nor take it too seriously to heart. They're sure to be quite subjective of your literary "talents". My good friend was most disparaging about my travel book, 'HERE,THERE AND EVERYWHERE', a tale of our European adventures in which he featured quite prominently. He was most probably jealous that I had a written a book first, or perhaps he was right about the "crappy" content. Judge for yourself! But could they do any better than you...or even the critics.

I believe some critics are failed writers just trying to "make a crust", like 'yours truly'... otherwise those who haven't had the gumption to try writing ihemselves. It's far far harder creating than criticising. But some are pretty astute at their assessments. Sitting on the fence as usual - you "chicken"!

25. Don't think a literary agent will solve all your problems in getting published. I can assure you they don't. They are harder to get than diamonds (definitely harder than publishers). They seem to only take on new authors and manage you once you are already rich and successful (the old "Catch 22" situation). I find UK agents generally very encouraging of my writing, and the South African ones extremely discouraging (no sense of humour these "arty-farty" types)... and a few let me down very badly. So I wonder if you need one then!

No only joking, it's not that bad!

26. Don't forget the five questions of good journalism:

HOW, WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN? In summary, write smarter not harder.

27. Don't be taken in by the "get rich quick" myth. Like me, living in a plastic bag above the toilet (thanks Monty Python), most writers are extremely poor.

Very few make real big money, like the John Grishams, Stephen Kings, Micheners, Frederick Forsyths and Jeffrey Archers of this world. And how many thought-provoking writers of REAL-GOOD books make big money. So don't give up your job to make a
"killing", like I tried to do - it's not likely for a long long time...if ever! But after those words of discouragement... and bringing you back to earth with a great big thump, I still have my dream of making it as a writer... five years later...and you can too, writing far more sensibly than me (and on more appealing topics).

28. Whatever you do, don't give up! Remember: PERSEVERANCE is usually the difference between a published and an unpublished author.

and finally...and most importantly,

29. Don't be afraid to fail. Failing is not being a failure. It just shows that your ways aren't working... and there is always another way to do things, another avenue, a new gateway towards success...

says stubborn he after knocking his head against a brick wall for five years; but the writing journey has been great and it's been great fun writing this lesson.


Must then have done something right - for a change!

And finally,

30. Believe in yourself: your talent and what you are trying to do. I sincerely believe. God gave each one of us unique gifts and talents to use to the fullest. Enough religion!
So BELIEVE in your potential, THEN YOU CAN DO IT.

Live your dream of becoming a writer ...

and thoroughly enjoy the journey of BEING a writer.

Craig Lock (Eagle Productions)

If you dream it, then you CAN DO ... and BE it!

"Believe in yourself and in your dream,
Though impossible things may seem
Someday, somehow you'll get through
To the goal you have in view.
Mountains fall and seas divide,
Before the one who in his stride
Takes a hard road by day
Sweeping obstacles away
Believe in yourself and in your plan
Say not - I cannot - I can
The prizes of life we fail to win
Because we doubt the power within..."
- anon

Submitter's Note:
This article was based on a good book titled 'The Twenty Nine Most Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them'. The book was written by Judy Delton and published by Writers Digest Books in Cincinatti, Ohio, USA.

"The world would have you agree with its dismal dream of limitation. But the light would have you soar like the eagle of your sacred visions."
- Alan Cohen

ThIS article may be freely published


"They say that if enough chimpanzees were put in front of enough word processors for enough time, eventually one of them would write Hamlet."

Author's Bio: 

About the submitter:
Craig is a writer, who believes in sharing information, as well as encouraging and helping others to find their talents and gifts, to strive for and accomplish their dreams in life - whatever they may be. Craig loves writing; but then what other job would be suitable for him!

The various books that Craig "felt inspired to write" are available at and

"A book is small enough to hold in your hand; but when you read it, the walls fall away and you're in a room as big as the world."

New Online Creative Writing and Publishing Course.

15 entertaining lessons by a prolific author. Learn the craft of writing creatively and have fun at the same time.

'Write Rite and be Published: All that I Know about Writing, How to Write Creatively'. This e-book is available at

All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children - MINE

What's the definition of an aspiring author?
A waiter!

What's the difference between a writer and a family pizza?
The pizza can feed a family of four!