Writing, just like other human activities, has a truckload of misconceptions with unknown origins.
Reading makes you a better writer, and writing in the morning propels you out of writer’s block.
Although some of these writing misconceptions have elements of truth to them, they crumble upon close examination.
So, let’s explore and debunk some content writing myths.
1 — Good writers are born, not made
Prolific world-beaters like Stephen King, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway might be demi-gods born with silver pens, but if you follow their stories, you will see that they started from the trenches — Hemingway literally did.
Other top-shelf writers started their writing path with lowkey writing gigs and grew from there.
So think of writers as top athletes like Tom Brady and Michael Jordan; they never stop honing their craft.
Even if you have the natural talent to craft a narrative, you need to nurture it by writing and polishing your words regularly. Just set goals for yourself and keep working towards them.
2 — Brainstorming is a waste of time
On the surface, you waste time researching and brainstorming before every writing activity. So, why not dive in and figure it out as you go?
Well, you could follow your instincts and write “straight from the heart”, but here are some problems you could encounter if you don’t explore the topic properly:
- You will run out of ideas.
- Your writing flow will stagnate eventually.
- Your text will sound incoherent and uninformed.
- You will lack adequate information about the topic.
- You will spend more time alternating between research and writing.
To avoid these issues, mark out a few hours to brainstorm. If the ideas aren’t flowing still, ask your colleagues for help.
3 — Expert writers don’t outline
A detailed outline streamlines your workflow and stitches your story into a cohesive narrative.
Otherwise, you will spend hours rummaging through the text to make logical connections between isolated paragraphs.
Back in college and high school, teachers always told us to outline our essays before writing.
So, it makes sense that expert writers won’t need to go through these fundamentals, right?
In reality, the best writers always create a framework for their narrative before writing, regardless of the work being fiction or non-fiction.
Some outline with handwritten notes, while others use well-crafted writing outlines to model their prose or essay.
4 — Good writers flex their vocabulary
Now this one is tricky because only a thin line demarcates ‘flexing’ from ‘littering’.
If you have strong words in your thesaurus arsenal, use them to beautify your prose. You can also use power words to make your writing sound convincing.
But the reader shouldn’t stop after every line to check what terms like “sesquipedalianism” mean.
This start-stop flow drives people away from your work.
Technical writers are probably reading this in shock. Yes, this applies to technical writing to an extent.
Resist the urge to flood your writing with jargon.
There is no harm in mentioning standard industry-relevant terms sparingly. But if you want to explain a concept (say a new product or feature), keep it simple.
But what if the devs don’t want you to simplify the language for mere mortals?
Then, you should explain to them that nobody understands those jargon-filled texts. If they want to teach their audience, simplicity is the best policy.
Don’t try to sound like a programmer; they speak in code. Write for people: use relatable words.
5 — It’s just about keywords
In content writing, adopting the right SEO techniques can propel your blog to the top of Google search results. This often involves guest posting, linkbuilding, and keyword injection.
Unfortunately, some SEO specialists and writers stuff their texts with keywords hoping that Google will pick it up — and some even make it to the top search results.
However, keyword stuffing makes your text unreadable. With time, your audience size will shrink because your text offers no value to readers.
6 — Write what sells
In line with the keyword sentiment, people are now obsessed with analytics — anything to drive the most sales.
Impression. Clicks. CTR.
Though these metrics are vital to understanding your audience, they shouldn’t be the bedrock of your writing.
Think about it; your competitors work with the same metrics as you. And this means they will generate cookie-cutter content with little intrinsic value.
To stand out, work on your unique value proposition. Identify a problem and offer a solution — and your blog or book will sell organically.
7 — You don’t need feedback
The current social media climate convinces us that we are self-sufficient beings who don’t need external input from strangers.
“The work is mine. I write what I want.”
But hold your horses, champ.
Authenticity is a valuable asset for writers, but you need to listen to your readers as well.
Ask them for feedback and factor in their contributions. Create a poll or survey and gather input from your audience.
You can also engage the readers in comments to gather valuable insights to improve your writing.
8 — Always keep things formal
Robotic language belongs in politics and academic writing; people get suspicious when you talk to them like a politician.
If you are writing for a business, don’t gun for big words to sound official and serious; they only make you sound lifeless and unapproachable.
Instead, use a conversational tone when writing. Add personal pronouns like “I”, “we”, and “you” to immerse the reader into the story.
9 — You are writing for yourself
In a bid to sound relatable, we often get carried away and take things to the extreme.
If you are running a personal reflection blog, you can do whatever you want.
But if you want content writer jobs that prioritize user-oriented content, get to know the reader first.
The problem with writing for yourself is that strangers cannot understand your world. As a result, you need to establish an environment that mirrors theirs.
So, find out your readers’ interests and capitalize on them.
10 — Blitz the rewriting stage
Once the first draft is ready, you just need to blitz through the text before submitting it.
Well, this writing technique will condemn your writing career even before it starts.
Rewriting is the most important part of writing.
You finally get the chance to eliminate the outside noise and polish the words.
So, why rush through it? Why not devote ample time to fine-tune your delivery, tone, and word choice?
The issue? Deadlines.
All writers dread looming deadlines.
Sometimes, congested writing workflows and terrible time management cram everything into a bunch, making it impossible to rewrite effectively.
Don’t fall into this pit. Give yourself enough time to proofread and rewrite before sending out the final draft.
Above all, don’t be afraid to get rid of words that weaken your message. Keep your writing clean, simple, and punchy.
11 — Never pivot your approach
Pivoting is easier when nothing is working. But when everything is going according to plan, changing things feel unnecessary.
However, remaining stagnant as a writer will cost you in the long run. Look at how Kodak missed out on the digital photography revolution.
Even if your style is working, pay attention to trends and adopt them in your creative process. That way, you can remain at the top for a long time.
For instance, you can now use AI-powered tools to improve your writing. These tools will save you time and improve the overall writing quality.
12 — Reading makes you a better writer
When you read the works of the best writers, you familiarize yourself with their style, literary elements, and tone of delivery.
But what good is all that golden material if you don’t use them?
Reading is great, but you can only become a better writer by writing.
If you are new to writing, find your favorite writers and copy their style.
Don’t worry about losing your unique ‘voice’ yet. Just focus on improving your fundamental skillsets first.
13 — Automated tools are bad for writing
Back to the photography analogy…
Elite film photographers assumed that digital photography was a mere fad.
In their opinion, these digital tools will go away, and the “real” talents will regain dominance.
Oh, were they wrong!
Digital photography has been king for the past two decades, while film photography is now a niche subculture.
So, when you see tools like Grammarly and Scrivener, don’t brush them aside.
Even if you love the way the typewriter raps in your empty cabin, invest in a laptop and other digital tools.
Automation makes your work as a writer easier.
Note-taking and time management app do not diminish your worth as a writer. Instead, they save you time and improve your efficiency.
14 — You can only power through writer’s block by writing
Every creator experiences long spells of writer’s block several times in their careers, regardless of experience.
Notwithstanding, you need to rejuvenate your creative juices and get back to work.
But the problem is that some people claim that you can “write yourself out of writer’s block.”
Please, don’t torture yourself.
Instead of rattling on the keyboard, typing gibberish till your fingers bleed, just take a break from the writing process.
Examine the cause of the block and address it. If possible, close the laptop and take a walk.
This way, you will be addressing the problem at the root level.
15 — Your productive hours don’t matter
“You can write any time if you program yourself to do so.”
This statement is sponsored by the proponents of “write your way through writer’s block.”
In reality, some people work better in the early morning hours, while others are night owls.
You just need to find the time that works best for you and set your timetable for these periods.
Although freelance writer jobs allow you to harness your productive hours, your full-time work schedule might fall outside those hours.
Either way, don’t ignore your productive hours if you want to provide optimum quality writing consistently.
16 — The best writers always rise to the top
Understand one thing: talent never guarantees you anything in life. If you aren’t ready to do the back-breaking yards, you won’t rise to the top.
But that doesn’t mean you should create rivalries and force yourself to perform at 100% every time.
Get used to the growing pains associated with becoming a top-notch writer.
No matter how talented you are, editors will want to water down your creativity. Content managers will not share your passion for the craft. And above all, people you consider “hacks” will outperform you.
But if you apply yourself and hone your craft, you will eventually find online writing jobs that will elevate your star above the rest.
17 — Writing is a lonely craft
Hollywood often depicts writers as lonely people living in the company of their words, writing instruments, and bottles of unknown liquids.
In this social media age, writing is no longer a job for loners.
Communities for writers crop up every day, and you can also connect with other writers on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Besides, you can connect with your audience personally. Just give yourself the chance to experience the world with others.
People have perpetuated several writing myths over the years. Although some of them bear elements of truth, the rest are just false.
Don’t let these myths stop you from reaching your full potential as a writer. We’ve helped you to identify some of these common writing misconceptions.
All you need to do is spot them and eliminate them from your thinking.
Which writing myth did I miss? Tell me in the comments.