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10 Qualities That Make Good Writers Great

Updated on February 28, 2017
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M.D. Johnson is a poet, playwright, author, and blogger. She has a BA in English and a Masters of Management in Business.

1. Consistency

We want writers to give us more continually, non-stop. When you buy into an author or blogger or writer on any level, for them to end their craft is simply incomprehensible. To consistently give value to readers becomes the new expectation of any given writer. A good writer keeps up momentum, as how many of us can’t get enough of our favorite author? You can always count on your previous customers to be repeat customers if they found value in what you gave them prior, therefore consistency and being able to repeat what you did the first time, and perhaps getting consistently better at it, is important.

2. Diversity

Since the racial climate of the United States is shifting to encompass a greater percentage of diversity amongst cultures, to appeal to a variety of cultures becomes significant. Not only along the lines of culture should one be diverse and encompassing, but along the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation and the like. When you can appeal to everyone, you gain a bigger piece of the pie and also expand your knowledge, as sometimes being diverse may require research. A good writer isn’t unnecessarily exclusive. A lot of readers of stories and fiction for example, are better engaged with your material when they find it relatable on some level.

3. Conscientiousness

I think good writers have to be aware at all times of what they are writing and how it will be perceived and affect others, which in a sense can directly affect their lives. We may have freedom of speech, but that does not free us from the vengeance or prejudices we may face if we publish something that may have been brutal or offensive to someone else, even if it was not our intent. Even when writers exude certain characters, it’s best to be conscientious of whether or not the character comes across as being stereotypical or derogatory. I’d say conscientiousness of a writer should go hand in hand with being ethical, on that note. Words and thoughts are powerful and they convey a message that can be detrimental or empowering to others. Be aware or conscious of what you write and how it will affect the lives of others, which through Karma, can always come back to you.

4. Flow

Flow is important in the sense, not only should what you write have value to the reader, but it should be easily readable or dependent upon the type of writing, exude the rhythm the reader would come to expect. Your flow somewhat projects your system of thought and intelligence from some eye views and even perhaps your personality dependent on the type of writing. If English is your second language, for example, and you aren’t well versed in it, it may show through in your writing; even the fact that you may suffer from dyslexia may manifest in your writing. Proofreading and even hiring an editor is important when it comes to writing to ensure your writing flow is smooth and comprehensible.

5. Insight

Good writers have insights and ideas that are new or other worldly so to speak. They have something to say that may bring about an epiphany or revelation. Depending on the genre of writing, it could be something jaw-dropping, or a twist on the familiar. To do this, writers not only do the necessary research to get the answers, but they also add their piece of the puzzle –their ideas, notions, conclusions, or expertise opinion on the subject matter.

6. Respect

Good writers have respect in the sense they exercise respect in all instances related to the writing arena, to include: respecting writing forms, meaning an essay is an essay, a piece of fiction is fiction, a haiku poem is in line with the number of words it is supposed to have for each stanza, etc.; respecting their readers, meaning giving them value, making what they read worth it; respecting their characters –ethically, morally, and not perpetuating a stereotype or conveying bigotry; respecting the power of their pen, using words to influence much needed change, or to help someone or teach someone opposed to idle chatter that harms or offends ; not everyone has to be a hero writer so to speak, what would a hero be without a villain, but respecting yourself as a writer is also important, in the sense what you write becomes a stamp on your life, or your staple, for example we associate Stephen King with being the master of horror and Dr. Seuss with wonderful and zany children’s books. What will your name mean in respect to your writing? Have respect for your writing.

7. Humor

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? To put a smile on someone’s face is a way to relate to them in the best way possible, -positively, peacefully, happily. If you can evoke your reader, as a writer, to laugh through the bad stuff, -the painful stuff, you’ve given them value. Think about it, when you have to listen to what most would consider to be a long, boring speech or lecture, the best lecturers, and professors reach more people via humor. When you get the bad tasting medicine to go down –flavorfully, you’ve accomplished the impossible. Every good writer uses humor at some point, from William Shakespeare to Stephen King, it is a necessary evil, whether you write horror or tragedy; there should always be a little light –in the dark.

8. Sense of Adventure

No matter what your genre of writing, if you can infuse adventure in your writing, and take your reader on a journey, while they are sitting still, well, you’ve won the writing game. Some people read to escape the perils and mundaneness of their lives. Maybe they don’t have the time or budget or means to go on a vacation, so they look for it in your book. To be off on an adventure brings about so many different emotions, -of fear of the unknown, of curiosity to see what one will discover or learn, or who one will meet, or what one will see, it can be dangerous at times, and thus thrilling. If man can never get enough knowledge and their thirst and curiosity of the unknown and unknowable can never be fulfilled or is insatiable, then the possibilities for a sense of adventure in your writing –are limitless; where will you have your reader venture?

9. Controversy

All good writing has at the least, a smidgeon of controversy. I always say the more the merrier, but only if it fits into the realms of conscientiousness and respect. Controversy is what moves us, thrills us, raises our blood pressure and offends us to take action, to make moves, to live a little, so to speak. To add controversy to your writing, maybe the main character in your story takes a turn for the worst, maybe the title of your article is a pun or play on words, or maybe your spoken word poem spits fiery darts at innocent by-standers unapologetically then bites. Not everyone will agree with every sentiment you write, and why would you want them to. In a great debate based on opposing beliefs, you either pierce your opposer with your sword or they become the victor, or you both agree to disagree, -no harm no foul. Controversy is what moves us and makes and makes us stronger writers.

10. An Opinion

A writer without an opinion perhaps would only fit into the category of technical writer. What’s the whole purpose or premise of you writing if you don’t have an opinion or idea of some kind to share? A story of fiction for example, is nothing more than a gargantuan opinion riddled with characters, and setting and plot, all to make a point. A poem is definitely an opinion. An article or non-fiction genre of writing without an opinion –is just information. A writer’s opinion makes for good writing in that the writer took a stance, believes in something, and isn’t some mindless bloke sitting in front of a computer letting his or her life listlessly waste away devoid of thought or emotion. A writer with an opinion makes them human, and lets us know they are a feeling individual, and not a robot.


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