What are common traps for aspiring writers?
1) Writing to break the rules:
I feel someone needs to understand basic grammar and story structure and character development before experimenting with different writing elements. It’s not bad to explore your creative side with breaking the rules in mind. If that is your goal, go for it. I’ve just seen far too many people try to do something that ‘hasn’t been done’ and it doesn’t work because they haven’t learned the basic writing skills yet. It’s like trying to do addition before knowing how to count.
2) Having unrealistic goals:
Dreaming big is a double-edged blade. Sure, it’s nice to have goals and believe in yourself, but if your goal when you start writing is to be the next ‘insert highly talented and successful author here’ then you might need to make more humble goals for yourself. The odds of becoming a best-selling author are ridiculously low. Like winning the lottery low. Take things one step at a time. Learn your craft, draft, edit, revise. Once you have a completed product, then think about the next step. If you think finishing a manuscript is one step away from awards and recognition, you might be disappointed. The attached article gives insight on some of the numbers: https://authorkristenlamb.com/2014/12/what-are-the-real-odds-of-being-a-successful-author/
3) Putting quantity over quality:
More words does not make for better content. It’s great to have a weekly/daily writing goal (I have one myself), but if those are filler sentences, paragraphs, scenes or meandering plot points, things are going to get slow and drawn out in a pacing sense. Bragging about writing 20k words in a day means nothing when half or more must be edited out in the revising process. It just makes more of a headache. Instead, try to write concisely. Make every word have a purpose.