Writing Habits to Give Up
Using more than one exclamation point
Exclamation points are rarely needed in the first place. You can use words to make a phrase stand out, so you don’t even need to add one. However, even if you consider one exclamation point necessary, you definitely do not need any more than that. It makes you sound a lot more like an overly excited girl who just got to meet her idol and yes, I speak from experience.But seriously, using more than one exclamation point not only doesn’t benefit your writing in the slightest but it also makes your writing look juvenile and unprofessional.
Using parentheses in Fiction
When reading Fiction, the readers are totally emerged in the story and when they come across parentheses, it usually throws them off, especially if it is an Author’s Note in the middle of the story.
This is not common in published books but amateur writers in different websites will often fall into this trap.
If you have anything to say about the story, something you need to elaborate or comment on to make it clearer for the reader then you can add a note at the end of the chapter or even try to rewrite the paragraph so it makes more sense.
Again, this is mostly aimed at Fiction writers but Non- Fiction writers should probably try to give up this habit as well. For me, it’s rare that you need to use such an expression in Fiction, since you are not really talking about examples or explaining anything but rather following a plot.
However, a lot of times when writing a Nonfiction piece, from a book to an article, you may find yourself explaining something using examples. When you run out of them, you will be tempted to just throw a “etc” in the end to get it over with. But resist it, because for me it makes you sound like you are texting your best friend. Unless that’s what you are going for, avoid it.
Thinking about the project when you are not writing
More often than not when I am working on a project, I can’t stop thinking about it and I am constantly coming up with ideas for characters, plot twist and mentally correcting mistakes I’ve made. It’s really hard to resist those thoughts but what I have noticed is that when I am thinking too much about a project all day long, I end up going into writer’s block a lot easier.
When you are constantly thinking about your plot, coming out with new ideas, you never settle on a particular one. Of course, I am not saying you should give up on thinking about it but rather avoid over thinking the project.
Indulging in constant self criticism
Writers constantly doubt themselves and are rarely happy with a piece of work, especially when it comes to something they want to do good at. It’s also easy to be too hard on yourself when comparing yourself to other writers. Most of us get caught up in all the negative self talk, that can be destructive to our projects. We spend so much time judging or second-guessing ourselves, that we don’t have time or energy to get better. And frankly, sometimes we convince ourselves that we can’t ever get better.
So when you catch yourself doing that, stop immediately and channel all that energy into something productive that will benefit you in the long run.
I am not saying to stop judging yourself altogether, because this is an indispensable part of a writer’s career but make sure you do it in moderation, so it doesn’t affect you as much. You have to be aware of the dangers it hides and know the results it may have in your writing.
All in all, these are some traps amateur writers tend to fall into, and that in my opinion should be avoided. However, nobody knows better what you want to write than you. If you want to use etc in every other sentence or start author’s notes in the middle of your chapter then go ahead!
You shouldn’t let anyone’s judgement stop you from creating your art. These are tips that are generally true but if you can pull them off and have your writing still sound amazing, then do it.
And remember, there are no rules in writing and honestly, there shouldn’t be any. It’s a form of expression, so choose to express yourself however you want.
Written By: Jenny Vidali