10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Writing Career

10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Writing Career

Aspiring writers often dream of becoming successful authors or famous journalists. However, achieving such a dream requires more than just passion and talent. Writing is a craft that takes time and practice to master. Along the way, many writers make mistakes that can derail their careers. In this article, we will discuss the ten common mistakes that can kill your writing career and how to avoid them.


The writing industry is highly competitive, and standing out from the crowd is a challenging task. Every writer who dreams of achieving success can make it. Often, it is not because of a lack of talent or creativity, but because of simple mistakes that could be easily avoided. You’re a talented, ambitious, and hard-working writer. Difficult editors? High editorial standards? Tough-to-wrangle sources? None of those obstacles faze you.

But that doesn’t mean your writing career is unassailable. Making the following mistakes could mean setting yourself up for failure—no matter how well you write.

10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Writing Career

1. Only taking ghostwriting assignments

Ghostwritten compositions are frequently more remunerative than those penned under one's own name. However, if one exclusively writes for others, establishing a long-lasting writing vocation is an arduous feat.

When seeking novel writers, editors often approach contributors at publications they hold in high regard. If none of your written works are accredited to you, this is a precious source of clients that you will forfeit.

Furthermore, you will be unable to showcase ghost-written articles on your personal website, LinkedIn profile, or Twitter feed. The absence of these additions to your portfolio precludes editors and clients from accurately evaluating your aptitude.

2. Neglecting to form connections

Numerous independent contractors neglect to acquaint themselves with other self-employed contractors in their sector, discipline, or local region. This can be a grave mistake. Fellow wordsmiths can furnish valuable counsel, bestow work opportunities or provide you with confidential information regarding a patron.

Thankfully, forging connections is not an arduous undertaking. Whenever you encounter a wordsmith whose work you admire, it's as simple as shooting them a brief message via email or social media, conveying your admiration. From there, connections often grow organically.

3. Missing deadlines

Nothing can have you stricken off an editor's roster faster than failing to meet a deadline. Editors' routines and livelihoods revolve around their editorial schedules, so if you submit a piece late, it typically implies they must frantically seek an alternative.

If you anticipate requiring additional time, notify your patron at the earliest opportunity. While the editor may still be displeased, forewarning them as far in advance as possible can reduce the inconvenience of the incident.

It's also advisable to explain the delay. It's not unheard of for sources to take a break, research to require more time than anticipated, or individuals to fail to return your calls, and editors to understand that these events occur. If you can provide a valid reason for the missed deadline, they are far more likely to consider it an isolated occurrence.

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4. Not proofing your work

If your written work lacks proper proofreading, it can create an arduous review process for the editor, leading to their dissatisfaction. Editors have an extremely limited amount of time as they manage multiple tasks such as brainstorming new ideas, maintaining content calendars, collaborating with other freelancers, and, of course, editing.

To maintain a good relationship with an editor, it's crucial to ensure that editing your work won't be a time-consuming task for them. Additionally, make the editing process a pleasant experience. If an editor provides feedback and suggestions, ensure a swift response time to maintain their interest in your work.

Ignoring the editor's comments can demonstrate either a lack of attention to detail or an unwillingness to improve your work, leading to an unfavorable impression.

5. Taking only the “easy” gigs

Accepting easy jobs may seem attractive, but it can hinder your progress as a freelancer. These types of gigs may not challenge you or provide growth opportunities, and they may not attract new clients.

It's important to find a balance between easy work and challenging assignments that push you out of your comfort zone. While more challenging work may have a smaller return on investment in the short term, it can help you attract higher-paying clients and lead to long-term success.

6. Forgetting about your brand

Developing your personal brand is essential as a writer. Unlike professionals in other fields who can apply their skills to various industries, most writers must specialize in a specific niche to earn a good income.

If you want to write about the vegan lifestyle, for example, you need to create a strong reputation in that particular niche. If you want to switch and write about the paleo diet, you will need to start building your reputation from scratch.

One thing you should avoid is writing about everything and anything. Without a clear focus, it will be challenging to stand out and move up to the upper echelons of the writing profession.

7. Not planning for promotion

Nowadays, clients are not only paying writers for their content but also their audience. After a piece of content is published, it's important to share it on social media and engage with readers.

It's important to note that not all content will be suitable for every social media platform (such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn). However, if a client is sharing the content on social media, they likely expect the writer to do the same.

8. Forgetting about old clients

Staying in touch with your former clients is essential for maintaining good relationships and networking opportunities. Even if you have moved on to higher-paying or more prestigious work, it is still important to keep in contact with them.

An editor may move to a new publication and remember your quality work, leading them to reach out to you for potential future projects. Or a previous client may come back to you for more work or ask for referrals, allowing you to help both parties.

Keeping in touch can be as simple as sending a friendly email or checking in on their latest projects on social media. Remember, the writing industry can be small, and a positive relationship with a former client can lead to great opportunities down the line.

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9. Keeping your rates static

It's important to remember that as a freelancer, you are responsible for advocating for yourself and your worth. If you consistently produce high-quality work and have built a solid relationship with a client, it's reasonable to ask for a rate increase.

Be professional and polite when requesting the increase, and be prepared to explain why you feel your work deserves a higher rate. And if the client says no, it's not the end of the world. You can either continue working with them at your current rate or consider whether it's worth your time and effort to keep working with them at all.

It's also a good idea to periodically evaluate your rates and adjust them as needed to keep up with the market and ensure you're being fairly compensated for your time and expertise.

10. Not Keeping Up With Digital Trends

Continuing to learn and grow is crucial for a successful writing career on UpMyChain. It would be a mistake to ignore the impact of digital technology on journalism.

To stay relevant and in demand, it’s important to understand the nuances of editing multimedia content, as well as the evolving role of copy editors in the digital age. Keep up with industry trends and invest in ongoing education to expand your skillset and stay ahead of the curve.

Easy Answer

  • 1. Only taking ghostwriting assignments
  • 2. Neglecting to form connections
  • 3. Missing deadlines
  • 4. Not proofing your work
  • 5. Taking only the “easy” gigs
  • 6. Forgetting about your brand
  • 7. Not planning for promotion
  • 8. Forgetting about old clients
  • 9. Keeping your rates static
  • 10. Not Keeping Up With Digital Trends

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