11 ways to destroy your writing career & tips to work smart

What tip can you share that addresses a mistake you've seen a writer make?


Every writer wants to be viewed as professional, intelligent, and bestselling. These are worthy goals, attained by excellent writerly habits. But when writers consistently engage in toxic lifestyle habits, their career and credibility can take a nosedive.


Writers receive blog posts daily that offer advice to build their careers. The publishing world has many sides, and each facet demands attention.


We read about how to be successful, sell more books, strengthen characterization, research and interview, increase exposure through social media, write a synopsis, prepare a proposal—and the list goes on. We are thrilled to have valuable information at our fingertips, and we dedicate time to read and study the content. But sometimes we can let things slip. Have we taken a recent assessment and considered the eleven ways to destroy a writing career?


Eleven ways to destroy your writing career, with tips for working smart:

1. Failure to invest time and effort into social media.

Work smart! We live in an age of worldwide communication. The best and most consistent way of reaching out to others is through a social-media platform. Our readers are actively online. We learn how and where they are spending time and what they long to read. Successful writers understand social media is about building relationships and helping readers with their lives by offering their expertise. Our platforms brand us as real, caring people.


2. Eliminate prayer. Why bother God when He doesn’t care about my writing career?

Work smart! Giving God just a portion of our lives means we aren’t embracing the God who gave us the gift of creativity. We should eliminate doubts in the One who is faithful even when we are not. Our relationship with Him is more important than any accolades the world can offer.


3. Engage in poor grammar and punctuation. 

Work smart! Invest in a grammar guide or take a college English course. Most publishers use the Chicago Manual of Style. Online help can be found at www.prowritingaid.com or www.grammarly.com. No writer wants their work labeled as sloppy.


4. Exercise is a pain, and proper nutrition is for health fanatics.

Work smart! The neurons won’t fire, and fingers won’t move, when writers disregard healthy habits. Varying reasons exist why people abandon sound nutritional practices. Medical stats prove those who choose an unhealthy diet and inactivity are more likely to contract life-altering diseases. Needless to say, their writing can suffer. Physical challenges may prevent specific forms of exercise, but most of us can become involved in some type of activity.


5. Ignore what is going on in the world.

Work smart! Writers find it impossible to write heartfelt needs if we have no idea what is going on in our community, state, country, and world. Choose awareness. Take a daily detour to trusted media.


6. Practice pride.

Work smart! Rejections and edit requests make us better writers. Grow a tougher skin and understand it’s not a personal afront but about the writing project. Humility molds us into better people.


7. Refuse to understand genre and the guidelines.

Work smart! Be an expert in your writing niche(s). Know the distinguishing characteristics of your subject matter and type of book. A professional writer knows where she fits and strives to meet those criteria.


8. Show lack of sincere concern for readers.

Work smart! Take time to discover and meet reader needs. Life is about relationships, and when we are genuinely interested in our followers, they become our friends.


9. Make condescending remarks online about those in the publishing world .

Work smart! Not only are critical remarks about others inappropriate and unprofessional, but every word written online can be retrieved.


10. Neglect to learn the writing craft .

Work smart! Stop for a moment before following through with this career-killer. We never stop learning. When we do, we stagnate and die. This is not only true for our writing life but also for every breath we take.


Writers may have the gift of communicating through the written word, but unless they commit to learning how to write and practice the techniques, they may never sell their work. Learning is ongoing, a means of always being at the top of our game. Wrap your writing in emotion perspectives—the readers’, the characters’, and your own.


11. Practice a self-centered mindset instead of helping other writers.

Work smart! We were all once beginners, searching for tools and guidance. We made mistakes, learned from them, and resolved to become better writers. Take time to encourage other writers through involvement in a mentoring relationship or writers’ group.


If a writer refuses to help a struggling writer, what will happen to the next generation of quality prose?


We all need to be professional. If any of the above eleven items have slipped into the horizon of our work habits, perhaps now is the time to consider changes that will positively grow our writing career in the publishing world. We can all learn. What tip can you share that addresses a mistake you've seen a writer make?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.


DiAnn is passionate about helping other writers be successful and speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston. DiAnn is very active online and loves to connect with readers on social media and at diannmills.com.