5 Writing Myths Debunked

BY ANDREA MORAN • June 20, 2024

5 Writing Myths Debunked

Writing a book is rarely a straightforward path. Whether you’ve already gotten started or are just in the planning phases of it all, it’s likely you’ve bumped up against some common myths that may make starting (or completing) a book feel even more challenging than it has to be. Below are some of the most commonly repeated refrains about writing that you can safely and confidently discard as you embark on your author journey.

Myth #1: You don’t have enough time to write.
Listen, this one hits close to home for everyone. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to a fellow writer who has waxed on about how much time they have during the day to just put words on paper. Most people feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all accomplished. Knowing you’re not alone can help, but what can you possibly do about it?

It may be that you’re simply thinking too big. Setting aside an hour or two each day to work on your manuscript may be ideal, but it’s not necessarily realistic. Instead, lower your expectations and start with thirty minutes per day. Can’t carve that much time out? Try twenty. Even ten minutes a day will help you keep some sort of momentum going and likely prevent you from giving up.

You may have to give something else up in order to get there—social media scrolling, for example—but take stock of how you spend a typical day and schedule your writing time like any other task you need to get done, and I guarantee you’ll be able to find the time.

Myth #2: All successful writers are simply naturally talented.
This is probably one of the most popular myths floating around, and it’s the one that can instantly kill a potential author’s willingness to try their hand at writing a book. When comparing themselves to authors like Shakespeare and Austen, very few people would believe that they have enough natural talent to be successful. The truth is that writing takes dedication and practice.

Yes, it helps to have an innate sense of what works and what doesn’t, but this is by no means a necessity to write something truly worthy of reading. Writing is a skill just like any other—one that takes time to nurture and develop. Practice it like you would anything else that you want to get better at—like learning a foreign language or running a marathon—and take heart in knowing that not even the greats kept their first drafts.

Myth #3: You need to be inspired to write.
We’ve all had visions of our favorite writers being struck by their muse, retreating into their study to pound out pages and pages of brilliant work that barely needs to be edited. And while inspiration certainly helps, you’ll be happy to know that it is by no means a requirement in order to put words down on paper.

In fact, chances are high that waiting for inspiration to strike will very quickly begin to sound like an excuse not to write. And not writing, as we all know, is the antithesis of being an author. That’s why it’s so important to power through whether or not you feel inspiration at the moment. Maybe it’s completing a daily writing exercise to keep you in the habit or dedicating yourself to chipping away at a manuscript that’s currently in progress. The important part is to keep going . . . even if your muse doesn’t visit you that day.

Myth #4: You should write only about what you know.
This one is tricky because, on the surface, it seems like sound advice. Someone who has never left the country might think twice about writing an international travel guide, for example. But remember that this myth is grounded in the idea that only realistic and sober incidents are worthy of being turned into literature.

Sure, you might not be an expert on space travel, but don’t let that prevent you from including it in your sci-fi book if that’s what gets you going. As long as you keep the important things, like genuine emotions or hardships, grounded in what you know, then feel free to disregard this common recommendation.

Myth #5: Don’t read too much or you’ll lose your unique writing style.
Rest assured that being a voracious reader will in no way harm your chances of becoming a stellar writer—it will, in fact, likely increase your chances since you get a taste of what’s out there. Your narrative voice is one of a kind, so be confident in the belief that it’s strong enough not to be overshadowed by others.

While it’s inevitable that you’ll be influenced by some styles (you have favorite authors for a reason!), that doesn’t mean your writing style will mimic those in any significant way. Discovering your voice can be a process in and of itself, one that often takes authors quite a bit of time to find. But whether you like your sentences long and twisty or short and choppy, your words long and intricate or brief and simple, your scenic descriptions meticulous and precise or cursory and to the point, rest assured that your voice is the one that will shine through.


Andrea Moran lives outside of Nashville with her husband and two kids. She’s a professional copywriter and editor who loves all things books. Find her on LinkedIn.

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