You’ve seen them, they’ve made you cringe, and you’ve vowed never to fall into the same trap. Unfortunately, the tricky thing about avoiding the most common writing mistakes is that they’re just that—common. Mostly the result of good intentions run amuck, the most frequent writing errors are typically rooted in some version of truth but are being applied in the wrong circumstance or with the wrong level of frequency. Let’s take a look at a few that creep up all too often and how to avoid them.
Trying to write the perfect sentence
Keep in mind that this is not a breakdown of the most common grammar mistakes, but rather deals with more general issues. You should, of course, strive to use sensible and generally recognisable grammar in your writing, but it is probably not in your favour to obsess over every detail. Overall, agonizing over the perfect sentence is not likely to get you very far. You don’t want your work to feel overdone or laboured and if you brood over every single word, that is, in all likelihood, what will happen. It is always a good idea to go back and edit your work, but in the initial stages—you should just be concerned with getting something down on the page.
Thinking longer is necessarily better
Smart people use long flowery sentences, right? Well no, not necessarily. According to Grammarly (a handy tool for every writer), run-on sentences are among the top grammar mistakes made by writers worldwide. This issue shows up in a variety of incarnations. To avoid it though, it is good to remember that the comma is your friend, you should always try to omit needless words, and that you’re better off with two or three clear sentences that one rambling mess.
Forgetting about your audience
There’s a persistent myth that writers tend to be a bit self-absorbed. This is nonsense, of course, but sometimes emerges due to the tone of their work. Especially when starting out, many young writers fall into the unfortunate habit of just pouring the contents of their mind onto the page without any consideration for the person it. Although you’re always going to be present in your writing, you don’t always need to be the star of the show. If you want people to read your work, you need to put yourself in their shoes and figure out how to appeal to them. Draw up a demographic outline of your ideal reader, include things like age, employment, personal circumstances, and so on. This will help you keep them in mind while writing.
Taking all criticism to heart (or ignoring it completely)
Although certain critiques may be harder to stomach than others, you should always be willing to consider the comments being directed your way. In most cases, there is at least a kernel of truth contained within the criticism and the more willing you are to listen, the less likely you are to repeat the same mistake.
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