My Top Writing Hates

Common evidence of a writer at his/her wit's end

Writing for a living can be very rewarding. Every day you create something new; bringing new ideas to life.

But EVERYONE has little bugbears about their profession and writing is no exception. Now it goes without saying that I love what I do… but every so often I feel the need to count to ten.

Starting with…

It’s very easy to imagine a writer sitting at a computer merrily tapping away. But a lot of work has to go in before you reach the stage of actually pulling things together. Writers can spend weeks, months and even years researching their chosen subject matter. Now I’m the first to admit I have an inquisitive mind but painstaking research can take it out of anyone.  

TIP: If you’re flagging have a cuppa and a HobNob. When it all gets too much, switch the caffeine for alcohol. After a while you’ll realise it’s all just gin in a teacup.

Every writer knows this pain… and the excuses you’ll come up with to explain it. It’s here that the art form of procrastination really comes into its own for nothing is as bad as sitting at a computer screen wondering what to type next.  

TIP: Reorganised your workspace, sharpened those pencils and even (gulp) contemplating some accounting? Do yourself a favour and go for a walk. Getting out and about will clear away the cobwebs without having to resort to efficient filing.

OK abbreviations can be very handy but only when everyone knows what you’re talking about. If your industry or trade is technical in any way the chances are that you have a few acronyms you rely on day in and out. However, when you’re explaining anything in writing you really have to spell it out before you can shorten it. Otherwise your prose could end up looking like a jumbled up alphabet.

TIP: Test your acronym-laden copy on any unsuspecting reader who isn’t familiar with your company or line of work. If they look at you with a mix of awe and suspicion it’s time to tackle those shortcuts.   

Words and spelling are the foundation of any writer’s work. But when you’re continually using a word with an unusual spelling it can really throw you off guard. I’m talking here about unusual names, entirely new products or services and shortened company names ending in things like ‘z’ and ‘x’. Every time you see it your brain goes a little loopy.

TIP: Write out the word/s on a post-it and stick it to the bottom of your screen. It won’t make them sit any easier on your conscience but it WILL stop you going crazy with spellchecker.   

Creating copy in a certain style can be time consuming. Then during the editing process things get changed, some sections are dropped and other new ideas added. Sometimes as many as three or four other people will add and edit as they see fit. The result is copy which covers all the major points but suffers from multiple personality disorder.

TIP: Make it clear from the start that any ‘hands on’ editing will have to reflect the original style if the copy has any hope of being understood.

You know the one. When you introduce yourself as a freelance copywriter and people assume you’re between jobs or simply a zany creative type. Tilting head and nodding action is optional but surprisingly common.

TIP: Ask the same ‘What do you do?’ question and give the same reaction. If all else fails speak in acronyms.:)

What’s your pet writing hate? Feel free to share below!

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My Top Writing Hates

Writing for a living can be very rewarding. Every day you create something new; bringing new ideas to life. But EVERYONE has little bugbears about their profession and writing is no exception. Now it goes without saying that I love what I do… but every so often I feel the need to count to ten. […]