Common Novice Writer Mistake #1: Stop Repeating Yourself.

“Anta, you’re not writing affirmations. Stop repeating yourself.”

When my mentor and long time business partner told me this, I took it personally.

I’m not repeating myself. What the hell? I thought to myself.

It turns out that my habit of writing variations of the same text was so ingrained, I was at the point where I didn’t even recognize it. A sly grin creeped on my friend’s face, as if he sensed my consternation. He started reading the beginning of my paragraph:

As the massive ship glided into the port, it seemed to almost swallow a smaller motorboat that struggled to maintain its place in the docks. The USS Wisconsin was truly, impressively enormous in every sense of the words. It was hard for little Sammy to comprehend the sight of the entire ship all at once.

“My God, it’s almost like an entire city in itself.”

“Hear the echo?” my friend asked. He thought that I was repeating myself too much and he had a point. I was underestimating my readers’ comprehension. I had already written that the ship was massive, and repeating that it was incomprehensibly enormous for two more sentences was stretching a description to its limit. Readers should have already gotten the point by then, and if I needed to drive the point further, I would have other opportunities to do so.

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