Category «Mistakes»

Mentioning your research (Mistake #10)

This will be obvious and second nature to many of you, but I see it often enough to justify an entry. Let’s take this extract from a fictitious article intended for a health magazine: When I spoke to dietitian Victoria Plum on the telephone, and asked her what she thought of the study into the …

“I can do better than that!” (Mistake #9)

You’re reading – a book, an article. And you hate it. “I can do better than that!” you sneer, tossing it aside. That’s not the mistake. The mistake is not letting your response go. Let me explain… Rubbish occasionally gets published. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. Bad songs get recorded and sung, bad art …

Accepting “we have no budget” (Mistake #7)

I often advise new students to start modestly with local papers, local magazines and other niche or humble titles. It helps build up confidence, gets you into the habit of writing regularly, boosts your research skills… and so on. You’ll also probably get useful feedback from editors with whom you’re working. Often, small publications may …

Not looking up familiar words (Mistake #6)

It’s easy to assume a word with which you’ve been familiar for years means exactly what you’ve always taken it to mean. Maybe you first came across the word in a slightly ambiguous context. Maybe nobody has ever corrected you when you’ve used it. Maybe they didn’t know either. Maybe you’ve just not given it …

Designing Your Articles (Mistake #5)

You’re a writer not a designer. You work with words not a palette of colours. Your business is text not image. What follows has been partly inspired by Julie Phillips, author of the Article Antics blog, and Diane Perry of the Working 2 Write blog. Julie recently posted here that her writing tutor had asked …

Something for Everyone (Mistake #4)

So here’s a fictitious and slightly OTT example of something I used to do a lot, still slip up on occasionally, and see a bit in the work of new writers, especially in travel articles. “Nicetown-on-Sea has something for everyone… Foodies will drool over the delights at Pedro’s continental deli on the High Street, but …

Writing Every Day (Mistake #3)

I’ve been coming across this one a lot lately. Writers comparing their ‘writing’ muscle to a physical muscle – that is, you’ve got to keep working it to keep it in tip-top shape – and worrying that if they don’t write daily, that muscle will atrophy. And only yesterday, writer Daniel H Pink posted his …

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