5 things that mark you out as an amateur writer

So, you want to be a writer?

If you want to be taken seriously, here are the top ten phrases to avoid, or you’ll have seasoned writers groaning and casting you as comedy bit parts in their novels…

My punctuation / grammar / vocabulary is terrible

Punctuation, grammar and vocabulary are the nuts and bolts of writing. If you aren’t good at them, you’re not going to be a good writer. Now, don’t get me wrong, the last thing I’m saying is that if English isn’t your strong point you shouldn’t try to be writer. What I’m saying is, you need to roll up your sleeves and learn this shiz. No excuses. Editors will not fix it for you.

Speaking of which…

I expect when I get an editor, they’ll sort all that stuff out

Think again. If your manuscript isn’t in tip top shape, and that means only the absolute tiniest sprinkling of typos, then it’s not getting anywhere near an editor, Buster.

I like to break the rules, because I think it makes me edgy

If you are Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh, then fine. You may break the conventions of writing. However, usually when people say this, it’s because they don’t understand why the conventions exist and what effect breaking / following them has.

In writing, there’s a reason we use 1st person instead of 3rd person, or use very long or very short sentences or even break the rules of capitalisation or whatnot. But if you’re going to break the rules, you’d better make damn sure not only do you know EXACTLY SPECIFICALLY what you’re doing and for what purpose, you’d better make sure it’s completely consistent, throughout the entire work.

If it’s not, I’ve got news for you – it’s not edgy, it’s lazy and sloppy.

Go to your room.

I want to be a writer, but I don’t have time

Then you’re not a writer. If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer. Don’t say you don’t have time, say nothing at all until you’ve started writing.

People don’t like my work because they don’t understand the genius of it

Well, what to say about this?

What ‘people’ are we talking about? If the people who have read your work don’t like it, it is possible you are giving it to the wrong people.

The other option is that it’s not very good.