Aaron Plan – ETWG Secondary Historian

East Texas Writers Guild

General Meeting Notes – May 8, 2023

Speaker: Carolyn L. Dean

Common Mistakes Made by Authors

  1. Thinking you have to know everything
    1. Thrashing – Not pulling the trigger, constant research
    2. How to fix it: Write down what you really need to get your book done, not every market change or research item. Reduce your INPUT.
  2. Not sharpening the saw…
    1. Not improving your craft (Unrealized potential, possible errors, plot issues, flat characters)
    2. How to fix it: Read, read, read! Education (YouTube videos, craft books, writing groups, editors)
  3. Comparing oneself to others
    1. Looking at what others are doing
      1. Jealousy, Feelings of inadequacy
    2. How to fix it: Remember others were once beginners, too! Eyes on your own paper. Be inspired by others, not crushed.
  4. Going solo
    1. Trying to do it all on your own
      1. Narrowing of vision, not wanting criticism, missed opportunities
    2. How to fix it: Ask those who know more, network with other authors! Find a group….
  5. Trusting the wrong people
    1. Giving money or time to people who may not be experts, are out for money or power
      1. Time and money invested that may not pay off
    2. Check out the person’s credentials, not their advertising (books written, ranks, established author, who recommend them, etc…)!
  6. Bad book covers
    1. Book covers that don’t show value to readers
      1. Lost sales, judgment from people who might otherwise love your book
    2. How to fix it: Look at best-selling covers in your genre, change covers on e-books or new editions
  7. Investing money in unnecessary products and/or courses
    1. Doing the right thing without the right information
      1. Lost funds, possibly erroneous information
    2. How to fix it: Ask veteran authors about results, check the reviews that are NOT on the item’s website
  8. Imposter syndrome
    1. Thinking “maybe this was a fluke”
      1. Scared to put out your opinion or writing, self-deprecating or depressive behavior.
    2. How to fix it: know this is VERY common; most authors get it. Take a step back.
  9. Not knowing how unique you are
    1. Thinking you have to create just like everyone else
      1. Frustration (“I must be doing something wrong”), using systems and goals that may not work for you.
    2. How to fix it: know you are UNIQUE, and so is your lovely brain
    3. I’m all about planning, strategy, and gathering people together…NOT discipline or execution!
  10. Not setting goals…
    1. Drifting – It’s comfortable, but not effective…
      1. Unrealized potential, lower productivity
    2. How to fix it: find someone or something to hold you accountable (sprint group, accountability partner), pre-orders or deadlines!


Conclusion: Mistakes aren’t failures, but lessons. However, are you going to learn from them?


Historian’s Note: This is a very educational and informative lecture! I recommend the notes on this lecture for anyone who has trouble trying to develop their story and characters. Remember, it may be okay to make mistakes, but it won’t be okay to repeat the same mistakes.


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