What makes a good writer?

For a long time, I’ve puzzled over how to be a good writer when I should have been asking myself that question.

Often when we think of writers, we think of novelists and journalists. We think of creative people. Guys who wear beanies. Girls who favor horn-rimmed glasses. This is true to a certain extent but this definition doesn’t define the breadth of writers that are out there.

Writers are novelists, poets and journalists but  they are also researchers, academics, bloggers and more.  When there are so many genres, and therefore so many types of writers, what qualities do all effective writers share? Those qualities must be the key to what makes a writer successful.

Here are four traits that are in common with all good writers. If you think of any others, comment below!

  • Good writers are curious , asking questions and seeking answers.
  • Good writers are observant, taking note of their surroundings and drawing inspiration.
  • Good writers are good revisers, writing and rewriting.
  • Good writers are reflective, able to evaluate their work and themselves for improvement.

There are only a few writers who don’t possess all these qualities in some combination. Those writers are usually poets who use opium so do not expect to be one of them. Unless you like opium. In which case you probably don’t know how to use the internet and are not reading this because you are lost in the 19th century.

So, in the end, I think effective writers have that core in common but they also have other skills, which depend on their niche. These skills branch off those central qualities of inquisitiveness, introspection, and inspiration. However, no matter what you’re writing you are developing those skills.  By writing in different genres about the same topic and different topics in the same genre, we can consequentially strengthen that stem that makes us good writers. At the same time, working on different genres can give us different perspectives on our ideas and our writing.  We can exercise and learn skills in one genre and then apply them to another.  So we can become good writers with a strong core and many branches.

This portfolio represents my “tree” if you will. It’s still a sapling but feel free take a look. And be sure to comment! They are the water that makes the tree grow or some such metaphor.

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