Believing You Can DIY (Mistake #1)

A lot of people love the idea of becoming a writer – and why not. It’s satisfying, stimulating, fulfilling, fun, and every day is different.

When you tell people this, you often spot a twinkle of excitement in their eyes. “I’m going to have a go too!” they tell you, and you smile, and try to gently steer them towards a correspondence course, or journalism course, or a good book about writing for publication, or just explain a few ground rules of the game.

But when they start to lose interest in what you’re advising, and they go “Yeah, yeah” a bit but not really mean it, and then enthuse about the column they’re going to send off to the editor of the Times tomorrow, you know you’ve got a DIYer on your hands.

You can’t Do It Yourself in this business. There’s no shame at all in thinking you can – but you really, really can’t.

Here are some of the people you might need: fellow new writers, journalists, authors, editors, press officers, librarians, members of the public, spokespeople, experts, professionals.

Here are some of the reasons why you need them: support, feedback, opinion, information, knowledge, expertise, quotes, guidance, tips.

Writing is a team sport. Every day I get advice from other journalists, facts and viewpoints from health experts, key information from books written by knowledgeable authors…

As you progress, you’ll discover who you need and what you need from them, and I hope one of the resources you come to find indispensable is this, the Mistakes Writers Make blog.


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