31 Ways to Fail as a Writer

31 Ways to Fail as a Writer

How do you fail as a writer? There are hundreds of websites and blogs that tell you how to have success as a writer or novelist, and they all contain valuable information. But maybe instead of telling you how to succeed, it might be quicker to tell you how to fail.

The Difference Between Success and Failure

First, we may want to define success and failure. We can define them in different ways, but the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines success as a favourable or desired outcome while it defines failure as the lack of success or a falling short.

A man with his head down on a desk surrounded by crumpled paper and a laptop

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31 Ways to Fail as a Writer

Here is a list of thirty-one ways to fail as a writer:

1. Never think about writing a novel, ebook, blog, short story or paragraph. It’s too hard… save yourself the time and effort.

2. Don’t schedule your writing time or stick with your writing routine. Write when you feel like it and when you don’t… don’t write.

3. Make sure that your writing is at the bottom of your priority list. Put everything else first so you never have to write.

4. Always feel guilty for writing instead of doing what others want you to do. You’ll get that novel finished someday… right?

5. Drop your writing when anyone knocks on your door or your friends stop by. It will be easy to start again after they leave or another day.

6. Answer the phone every time it rings or beeps. Look at all the notifications that light up your phone from social media sites. After all, you would hate to miss the next Twitter war.

7. Don’t read any blogs or books on writing, particularly if it’s written by an expert. What would they know about writing a book?

8. Don’t read any books in your genre. You don’t need to know what readers expect in their books.

9. Avoid writing courses, master classes, or YouTube videos on writing. If you passed high school English, you know everything you need to know.

10. Don’t subscribe to the newsletters of any popular writing sites or best-selling authors. You don’t need to know new trends or get any writing or marketing ideas. You’ll figure it out on your own.

11. Don’t join any writing groups or discuss writing with other authors. You don’t need any advice or support from non-famous writers (see tips #7, #9, & #10).

12. Never go to a writer’s conference. Who needs all that important information? It’s a waste of time. You don’t need to learn about writing, meet agents, have your manuscript critiqued, or talk to other writers.

13. Don’t join any online discussions, forums, or meetings on writing. You are a lone wolf. You can do it all by yourself.

14. Don’t forget to waste time on social media or the internet instead of writing. It’s important to know fashion trends, everyone’s opinions and the latest celebrity breakup.

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.

― Oscar Wilde

15. Don’t do anything to get your name known in the writing world. Stay anonymous. Someone will find your unpublished manuscripts after you die… won’t they?

16. Don’t research your target audience, historical events, characters, languages or anything else for accuracy. Just wing it. Who cares if they didn’t actually have electricity in the 1700s?

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

17. Don’t make notes of your thoughts, ideas, outline, character details, or anything else. You’ll never forget the important details. Will you?

18. Don’t enter writing competitions. You don’t need your work to be judged so you can improve it. You know everything you need to know.

19. Don’t submit articles to websites that pay. You’re not looking to make any money for your writing. It is fun being an unpaid author.

20. Tell no one about your writing. Keep it a secret. You don’t need your friends’ and families’ support. 

21. Never show your work to editors, agents or publishers. What do they know about writing?

22. Watch Netflix instead of writing. Tell yourself you are studying characters, story points and brainstorming.

23. Don’t follow the guidelines for submissions to agents and publishers. They like it when you don’t follow their rules and send whatever you want instead.

24. If one publication rejects your work, quit writing. Assume that it’s worthless and unsuitable for every other publication and don’t send it anywhere else… ever.

I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.

― Sylvia Plath

25. If you get a rejection letter, take it personally and stop writing. There is nothing you need to change. Nothing you could do better or work on.

26. Don’t get your own website to showcase your work.  Don’t post anything on social media. Your readers will find you somehow.

27. Never market yourself. You don’t need to find readers or people that like your writing.

28. Don’t consider rewriting your work from a different perspective or angle to reach another market or audience. Your writing is perfect just the way it is. Change nothing.

29. Never consider taking the advice of beta readers or your editor. It is your story. There is nothing they can tell you that could make your story better.

30. Tell yourself that you’ll never succeed at writing. Let the imposter syndrome sink in until you quit.

31. Avoid writing by procrastinating. Tell yourself you will finish your book next year, you have all the time in the world. Right?

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to fail as a writer, do the opposite and succeed. Do you know any ways to fail as a writer? Let me know in the comments?

Until next time



Feature photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.