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Are You A Good Writer? Ways To Evaluate Your Writing Skill

Updated on January 10, 2014

How Do We Know If We Are?

That’s a serious question by the way. How do we know if we are any good at this writing gig?

Well, if you are a member of HubPages, or a similar writing community, it may be very hard to tell about your writing quality. I say that with the utmost respect, but I say it because, for the most part, only positive comments are made on HubPages. If you are looking to evaluate your writing ability, HubPages is not the place for you. However, if you are looking for a feel good experience, by all means sign up with HP and share in the love. LOL

Back to the original question….are you a good writer?

Well, your Mom says you are so you must be, right? Your best friend says you are a great writer, so you must be, right?

No, not necessarily!

The fact is that our loved ones and friends may not be the best source for an unbiased opinion regarding our writing skills. So if that is true, and it is, then how do we find out if we “have game” in our chosen profession or hobby?

Perhaps the following suggestions can help answer that question.

Are you a good writer?
Are you a good writer? | Source

SELF-EVALUATION

What’s that old adage? The doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient? This certainly applies in writing as well. We are not the best judges when it comes to our writing ability. Either we have delusions of grandeur or we have such self-loathing that we think all of our work stinks.

Even though we may not be the picture of objectivity, there are several criteria that we can use to judge our writing. Take a look at the following list and grade yourself as objectively as possible.

Structure

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Sentence completeness
  • Syntactic variety
  • Sentence complexity
  • Usage
  • Readability
  • Subject-verb agreement

Content

  • Vocabulary
  • Elaboration
  • Word choice
  • Unity
  • Single point of view
  • Cohesiveness
  • Introduction and conclusion
  • Coordination and subordination
  • Logical structure and transitions
  • Sequence of ideas

Did you pass the test? If not, what areas of your writing do you need to work on? Make no mistake about it….writing is work. We can be fueled with passion and yet lack voice. We can be great technicians and yet fall short of our objective.

Yes, writing is work, so get to work and improve those facets of writing that you are weak at.

FORUMS

Go online and find yourself a forum and then join it. Many offer free appraisals of your writing, and the appraisals are from fellow writers who have no hidden agenda. All they want to do is help you to become a better writer.

I think a warning is only fair. If you are thin-skinned then this may not be the path for you. Objective evaluations are cold-blooded in nature, so make sure you can handle the truth as the evaluator sees it.

Most forums will offer you a free platform upon which you can share your work, but remember that your work is then part of a public forum and as such instantly has a target attached to it. There are good opinions and there are bad opinions, and you will get both on forums. If you are open-minded and willing to learn, then you will find nuggets of wisdom in these forum evaluations that just might help you.

Writing Classes

Go to any community college and you will find writing courses. There you can train under the watchful eye of teachers who are only there to help you. It is a relatively painless way of getting the help and suggestions that you need. Writing instructors can help you with grammar, sentence structure, voice and focus. They will offer suggestions and give a friendly critique of your work.

You will also be in class with other writers who want exactly the same thing, namely to improve in their craft.

The writing studio, where good writers are born
The writing studio, where good writers are born | Source

Workshops and Institutes

Costly for sure but very rewarding, workshops have been known to fuel the fire that is within many writers, and often times an unpolished stone emerges from a workshop as a sparkling gem.

Go online and you can find an endless array of writing workshops. I have included a few for you to consider to the right of this page. There are literally thousands of workshops available around the world, and they are offered year round.

Paid Evaluators


If you want an objective evaluation of your writing skills, you might consider paying for it. There are many writers, like myself, who have websites and offer to look at your writing samples and tell you not only what you are doing wrong but also give advice on how to correct those wrongs.

If you would like me to take a look at your work, I have included my website to the right, or you can email me at holland1145@yahoo.com. There are many such offers online for those interested.

Are you a good writer?

See results

A Potpourri of Final Points

There is no substitute for writing and practicing your craft. Writing is an Art and as such must be worked at with diligence. One does not become proficient at an art without practice.

Still, if one does not understand the rules of good grammar, all the practice in the world will not change that fact. Reading the masters who have come before you will help. A certain amount of “learning by osmosis” occurs simply by reading good writers. Study their sentence structure. Study their word choice. Study the way they build upon a story and use all the tricks of the trade to allow their story to flow. There is something very humbling about reading the greats, and there is also something very inspiring about it as well. If they could do it through hard work then maybe you can too.

So, are you a good writer? Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to find out?

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hi Bill,

      What a powerful hub you've written. You're so right about family and loved ones not giving us an objective opinion about our talents. I need improvement - I try - but I just need to try harder!

      Thank you for this very insightful and well written article. - Voted up and away!

      Your friend,

      John

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey John, it's always nice to have you stop by for a moment. Thank you and I hope you are well and happy. Have a great weekend.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Lots of work and you have to be truly dedicated to this thing we call writing... Speaking of writing..If anyone is in Prescott area..the genius of bookmarketing John Kremer is giving a seminar..and it is ridiculously inexpensive..May 18....for an entire day..I am hosting.....Just another way to get your work out there...I think that working on your craft will improve it..but the reality you have to have that spark and know how to captivate our audience...So even if work has some mistakes if the topic, presentation grabs..It is kind of like a painting..It may just grab you because it does...ANyway thanks for the great writing ideas. GOing to vote up, pin and spread around facebook.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I loved this article. I have written for years in the adversarial world of litigation. Wow these folks can tear apart anything you write. And they get paid to do it. Then it gets graded by a judge and there are real world consequences -- ouch!

      Great pointers and guides, thank you.

    • sydneyspence profile image

      Sydney Spence 4 years ago from Austin Texas

      Great hub as always Bill ~ really gave me something to think about and puts into perspective what I've personally tried to accomplish as a writer. Writing is for everyone ~ writing professionally isn't.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tennicut, your last point is the best...criticism geared to help you improve....that's what is important about good forums and writing classes.

      Thanks for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Carol. I have never heard of John Kremer but I'll look him up and see what he's all about.

      Have a great weekend, Carol.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eric! That litigation gig does not sound like fun to me. :) I'm quite happy doing what I'm doing, thank you very much. LOL Have a great weekend buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sydney, those are true words and it is an important distinction. Thank you my friend and I hope you have a bright and happy weekend.

    • sherrituck profile image

      Sherri Tuck 4 years ago from Virginia

      I tell my students to write something every day because the best way to improve your writing is keep trying. Too often writer shy away from writing because they fail to produce quality pieces. Even the best writers do not produce quality pieces 100% of the time. Remember, great American writers like Faulkner and Fitzgerald suffered rejection.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      GM Bill!

      That's quite a lot to consider...I do think I am a good writer (because all my teachers always told me that:) I always think I need to be better though, and you can't learn too much.

      I think it's awesome of you to help direct people to more help and awareness to figuring out how to improve. WTG:)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Kelly! I see you get a new house....hooray! As for writing, you are right, you can't learn too much, and the quest to be a better writer is what motivates me daily. :)

      Thanks my friend and I hope you have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sherri, we live in times of instant gratification. Very few writers can face rejection nowadays for seven, eight, or ten years. Too bad because many a classic writer had to wait that long for recognition. If it was good enough for Steinbeck then it's good enough for me. :) Keep telling your students to write....it's the only way.

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Good Article, Bill. I have to be humble enough to admit that I really don't know the true quality of my writing, because I have not been evaluated in a very long time. I noticed your website when I entered your contest and I may just take you up on it, because if there is one thing I have learned with age, it is that no matter what you think you might know, if you can get some help to better yourself, go for it!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Objective criticism is the best way to learn about our own writing. Sure its rough sometimes but its also better when its honest! I worry more about my content and tone then I do about grammar ... at least for now.

      As always Bill, this is a helpful, honest hub that many will learn from.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Interesting hub. I agree with you that comments of HubPages writers or friends and family can't be taken as an indication of how well you write, and that it's hard to assess yourself. I do think it's possible to get better at this with practice too - we need to really, because we can't always turn to someone else for every change we make to a piece! :-)

      Funnily enough, I am working on a series of blog posts on how to edit your own writing, and posted the first one today. Seems we think alike just now!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 4 years ago from New England

      Great advice in this hub, Bill! Glad I finally took time to read it. :0)

      Great advice for writers to read the classics and other examples of good writing. I aspire to be a published children's writer some day, and I try to read as much children's literature as I can, to see the strengths that are there and try to work them into my own original content. Luckily, I have lots of chances for that in reading to my young daughter. :0) Right now, we are working through Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. He is a very strong YA writer and we can't get enough of his books...so I am thinking about what I love about his writing and bring it to my own middle-grade fantasy story ms.

      Also ~ inspired by a friend, I have started again to write "Morning Pages," a la Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Writing 3 pages each morning is a great way to explore thoughts and ideas, and practice writing about them. :0) For those who prefer the screen over paper and pen, there is a web site called "750 words," or something like that, for writers to practice during their morning commute if they take a train with WIFI. :0)

      There are often free writer's groups at public libraries. Good thing to take advantage of. I was involved in one at the Boston Public Library, which met on Thursday nights... at the Copley branch (for those who live in Boston). I have one near where I live now, too (this one has a small fee, but the leader is open to bartering). :0)

      Thanks Bill, for a great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wayne, you think like I do my friend. I have a lot to learn, and the things I do not know I can't teach myself...duh! LOL Thanks for dropping by and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mary! I'm with you on the content point....for me, delivering a message is most important, but I need to work on it so I capture the attention of my audience each and every time. :)

      Enjoy your weekend; it's going to be beautiful here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Yvonne! Nice to see you my friend. Editing our writing...yes, we are thinking alike today. :) Assessing oneself is pretty hard to do, and having loved ones do it is risky at best and may not have positive results.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Seafarer, great tips and suggestions and I thank you. I love that you learn from other writes in that genre. Very smart thing to do. They are successful for a good reason, and if we can figure out what they are doing for success then it will definitely benefit us.

      Have a great weekend and thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I think I'm pretty good at following the rules, but overall my writing isn't very good (but I've improved a lot over time). I know you will say you disagree, but you're a hubber AND you love me so your opinion will be far too biased :)

      And my neighbor Wayne Barrett is an awesome writer (yes, I'm on HP, but it's true :)

      Good points to think about, as usual. Oh, and libraries often host writers' groups, too.

      Scatterbrained much? Geez, I'm all over the place here.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I have the hunger to be a writer, Bill. That's as objective as I can be right now. Your article works for me, my friend, because it challenges me to explore facets of being a writer that I might have otherwise overlooked or purposely avoided. Here's what I feel like. I feel like I just moved from another town, tried out for and barely made the team as a fifth pitcher. Where I came from, I was the #2 guy in the pitching rotation. So I'm going through some changes, and it shows, and it rubs other players the wrong way.

      But here you come, and you sit down next to me. You don't talk shop. You don't tell me how to pitch. You just do the billybuc thing--you simply connect. And before I know it, I'm drawn in. All of a sudden, I'm asking you to teach me how to throw a knuckleball or a slider because God knows I'm in need of a third pitch.

      When you leave the dugout, I'm asking the bat boy, "Hey, who is that guy?"

      With a chubby-cheeked grin, he says, "Why, that's Bill Holland! Ain't you ever heard of him? He's our ace pitcher!"

      Thank you, Bill! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

      Joe

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Solid advice as usual, Bill. I would like to send you part of my recently finished novel. Your website doesn't mention prices, but I'm sure you're reasonable. I will email you separately. voted up and useful and awesome.

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      It's nice to be reminded of a few things I knew, and learn a few I did not. I sure can't add anything for God knows I need to work on spelling and grammar. I don't see words as they are, if I write them, I see them as I thought them. I most especially like the tip about reading. I have been grossly negligent in that area of late. It's Chaucer this weekend! I hope you and Bev have a wonderful one. God bless.

    • profile image

      mjkearn 4 years ago

      Hi Sir Bill

      So what's this ask a serious question and get us to fill in the blanks. You can ask me anything but it helps if you just ask me a question and include a subject. If you're waiting for me to guess you could be here till you grow old. Oh wait you're already there, LOL

      I love your cryptic instructions for things and I'm really beginning to get good at them.

      So if I want to feel good all I have to do is join HubPages and tell lies. Great I've done that.

      If the doctor is treating himself how does he have time for fool patients and more how does he know I'm a fool? Do I now have to submit my resume to get a doctor's appointment?

      Now now Sir Bill there's no need to get personal. Not all my work stinks, some of it just smells bad.

      I've been told that since I've been in front of many Judges, I'm not allowed to be one. That's fine with me as I don't care for those white wigs but I do wear one of those black robes at the weekends in the private club. Oh wait this is the wrong site for that, OOOPs.

      My therapist says that I have illusions and should stay away from power tools. Is that the same as delusions and can I stay on my current medication?

      So teachers teach!!! Boy what school did you go to Sir Bill. At my school teachers drank, smoked, swore, farted, scratched themselves, threw things at us, taught us how to make petrol bombs, showed us the weak points on armored vehicles and at weekends helped us paint slogans. Oh wait I tell a lie. That last bit was Sunday School.

      So your test? No I didn't bloody pass. What do you expect when you set the bar so high. As to writing I know how to change the refill in a biro so where does that put me?

      So finally you get to my level. To the things that I know about. To the things that I have experience in. Though remember don't be telling those Judge types as I'm supposed to behave or at least that's what the brief said I signed up to. Anyway if you had started with this you would have saved me a lot of reading.

      If I want a good review, put cash in an envelope and give it to an official person in that field. That's all you had to say Sir Bill. I can do that.

      When will you have the cash ready and who do I give it to at the courthouse. Do you need back up and high speed transport. Coco's getting good with a stun gun and that costs a little extra but as you're a pal I'll throw that one in.

      You and your Bev have a great weekend Bill.

      Later MJ.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Another good one billy! I am lucky enough to have a best friend who is a writer and we are able to be honest with each other, both good and bad....and stay best friends! "Yes Men" are really of NO help. My sons are also quick to point out the negatives. As I really respect your writing and you ever want to point out anywhere you think I could approve..would appreciate it, and my skin is thick!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Howsoever perfect one may be, there is always scope for improvement. You are right, at HP, there is always positive feedback, which is good for motivation purposes. But as writers, we must always analyse ourselves and try to improve our writing and overcome weaknesses, whatever they may be.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, I won't say a word about your writing....even though you are full of baloney. LOL Scatterbrained? I wouldn't have you any other way and yes, I love you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, you are too much. Thank you!

      Your comment yesterday inspired my hub scheduled for Monday. I hope you like it...your spirit is in it from work one to the end. :) My tribute to you.

      Aloha buddy,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Russ, thank you! I sent an email reply so give it some thought, check other editors for price, and if we can do business then great.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vix, you are a fine writer. If there is a God then you will have a column syndicated one day. LOL I'm serious, that latest series that you did is a classic deserving of its own column, and I'm going to sing your praises to anyone who will listen.

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend with Chaucer.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheri, it sounds to me like you have all the friendly critics that you need. If there is ever anything specific you want me to comment on I'll be glad to.

      Have a great weekend and enjoy this gorgeous weather.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mickster, I'm laughing out loud and I have tears in my eyes. Bev just shouted out asking if I was okay. The neighbors are herding their kids inside for safety. Oh my God you are funny.

      What does it mean that you have to behave? Does the court criteria meet Suzie's criteria for proper behavior? Just curious! The next time you get in trouble with the robed men, I would have Suzie act as your barrister. How could you go wrong?

      Way too funny my friend. Thanks for sending me into the weekend with sore ribs and a permanent grin.

      Have a great one and hugs to Suzie!

      bill

    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      I might give the forums a go, but it will have to be a day when I'm feeling thick skinned and my self esteem is on the up. Its true, everyone is lovely here, so its hard to gauge, but I also like it that way. Oh my, so much to learn and so little time. sigh. Thank you Bill for helping us again.

    • Linda Compton profile image

      Linda Compton 4 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

      Ah, Sir William, another insightful and valuable hub. Thank you. The first few times I got sections of my manuscript back from my editor I was stunned. SO MUCH RED. Wasn't at all sure how to incorporate that jarring visual with the significant affirmation he gave. LOL.

      As always, you provide such thoughtful and hard-won wisdom. Bless your heart! L.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, I have to admit that this is a refresher course for me--in fact, in all honesty I had to look up a couple of those on the list. It has been a very long time since I was in school :)

      Anyway, I thank you for pointing out all the areas we as writers should strive to improve upon.

      FYI--I looked up 'cohesiveness' and coordination and subordination. See ya later--I've got a lot of studying to do!

      ;) Pearl

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      You know, when I was about thirteen my dad told me what a lovely singing voice I had . I tape recorded myself and when I played it back I realized that my father loved me very much. I valued his opinion about a lot of things, but he had a blind eye (and ear) when it came to his children.

      Very beneficial Hub, Bill ... thanks.

    • velzipmur profile image

      Shelly Wyatt 4 years ago from Maryland

      You are an incredible inspiration yet realistic all at the same time. Your honsesty and the way that you share it is quite straightforward. I do not know that I will ever be considered good let alone great but I am pushing forward. I wait with bated breath for your next hub!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      If you have recovered from MJ's comment,I will commence! LOL This is a great hub highlighting the fact we all need to know the truth no matter what the critique is on our writing and work on it. becoming a better writer is certainly my goal and I tend to be very critical on my own work, maybe too much so, MJ says!

      Many thanks my friend for another Bill special, votes,shared and tweeted. Have a good one!!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George asks his therapist to read and comment on the sitcom pilot he and Jerry just wrote. She responds that she didn't think it was that funny. Of course, George being George, he's incensed and thinks she should like it because he's paying her for therapy. She reminds him that in a creative endeavor, he should be prepared for this.

      (Actually, the whole set of Seinfeld episodes about writing and producing the pilot fit right in here.)

      I think a lot of writers are unprepared for "editors," whether they are personal or professional. The personal editors can be exceptionally harsh and relationships can be challenged. I'd suggest steering clear of family and close friends for new writers. Better to look to writer-friendly communities for help.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chitrangada, I am glad that you recognize that fact. Positive affirmations are great but when it comes to our ability as a writer we really need an objective and unemotional opinion.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lesley, HP is great for keeping our spirits up. The forums on HP are downright nasty, but writer's forums online can be rather gentle and still truthful if you find the right one.

      Thank you for your second visit today. You are appreciated my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, seeing that sea of red can be a bit daunting and crushing. I always felt bad about grading papers at school in red, so I used green instead. LOL Didn't feel so much like bleeding that way.

      Have a great weekend my NM friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, at least you admit that you had to look them up. LOL I know some writers who's ego is so large they will not admit to anything like that. :) Bev asked me what a word meant a couple days ago and I had no choice but to say that I was clueless. :)

      Thank you, Pearl! Have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, you had me laughing out loud with that memory. Thanks for the laugh and I hope you have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      velzipmur, you are very kind. Thank you! I want to be an inspiration so it makes me feel good to read your words. As for the next hub, I think the one coming Monday will make you glow as a writer. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, I don't know how long you allow the Mickster to be off of his leash, but he's full of piss and vinegar today. God I laughed hard at his comment.

      As for you being too critical, I have no problem believing that. :)

      I want to visit you two...Bev wants to too....sigh....some day, right?

      Thanks Irish! Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, great example and a funny one as a bonus. Editors should be black and white...no emotional tie whatsoever....we need to hear the truth from someone not invested in the book.

      Thanks my friend. Wishing you a great weekend.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, another useful hub. I think I do ok but want to get better. I am not into forums and can't see me going that way. My hubby used to be too kind but I've asked him to read my fiction but give me an honest opinion. I have learnt a lot about non-fiction writing on HP but still have a way to go but I think I have improved since I first started. I'm open to learning, open to improving and this hub was another useful push in the right direction.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      Excellent hub. I like the lists of things to evaluate as even a good writer always has room for improvement. I think attending a writing class is always worthwhille, You covered this topic very well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, I am my own worst critic. I know I need work on dialogue. I struggle with it, but at least I know that's what I have to work on.

      It is a constant learning process, isn't it? :)

      Thanks Julie and have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment. Enjoy your weekend.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Another one of your Hub pages that's drawn heavy traffic, Bill. As has been said elsewhere on your 'Tutorials', good writing is the result of work, work and working at being better.

      Of course Mum's opinion has to mean something, but the opinion of Joe Public might mean more, and there's someone else's opinion that matters. That's the discerning reading public. This is where solid research as a foundation for writing comes into its own.

      Writing books that are grammatically sound and accurate in their research base isn't going to be the decider, though. What about subject matter? Lots of readers out there might plough through book after book, but would they plough through unfamiliar material? I hear tell we have to 'dumb down' to push this kind of material, but that's the way the Print as well as Radio and TV Media companies work. It sells copies and puts across the message, but does it raise the barrier?

      We don't have to angle after writing Booker Prize winners, pulling high-brow audiences, but a happy medium might work as well. Tell your audience something they don't already know in a way they can understand, but don't pander to the illiterate.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, bravo! I am so tired of the "dumbing down" of society and I refuse to pander to the illiterate, as you perfectly stated. We have seen far too much of that lately. Tell a good story in a voice others can relate to....no shortcuts...no simplifying in order to reach a larger audience. Maintain integrity all the while entertaining.

      Love this comment. Thank you for it!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I guess the only thing I can base my writing skill level on (besides my mom's praises, of course) is self-evaluation and critiques from teachers and bosses...but as you said, self-evaluation is very bias!

      You give some great ideas for finding out the answer to the question"Am I a good writer", but you have to have some semblance of self-confidence to even ask! I really like your final idea, "learning by osmosis". That's why I read all your stuff! :)

      Have a great weekend!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I thought I had a pretty good handle on grammar and punctuation until I started writing for sites that follow AP style. One of the most misused forms of punctuation is the semi-colon. It actually should be used more often than most people think. There are so many things I didn't know, such as 10:00 in the morning should be presented as 10 a.m., not 10 AM or even 10:00 A.M. One site has me leaving only one space between sentences. That goes against what I was taught in school and have been doing for the 50 some-odd years I've been alive! Oh, and that's another thing - keep the use of exclamation points to an absolute minimum.

      There is so much to learn in order to be taken seriously as a good writer. You can have the best story in the world, but if spelling, grammar and punctuation sucks, you're out of the game.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      There are still a lot of stuff I need to work on, even in writing stories. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So nice to have you here again. Is it ever going to stop snowing in Minneapolis? LOL

      Thank you for your kind words. I'm honored that you think so highly of my work.

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I have read the rules about AP writing but have never tried to do it. Not sure I want to, either. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by dear lady. Have a great weekend.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Again....very inspiring hub. Brother, I always impressed with your hub and every time I visit your hub I always learn something great like this one. I should evaluate my skill. Thanks for sharing with us. Good job and voted up :-)

      Prasetio

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      I am so not sure how I missed this earlier today and do apologize. A bit of a crazy day today and trying to get all my work done so I can take the weekend off to actually enjoy our nice spring weather. But just dropping by to tell you that I loved your tips on evaluating your own writing and have tried a few of these myself. Thanks as always and have a wonderful weekend, too!!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for outlining the ways one can use to evaluate one's writing. I believe the best suggestion is to keep at it everyday, read the works of great writers and study them. Writing classes and workshops will hone the skills.

      Gem of a hub as always, my friend.

      Have a great weekend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      I am very critical of my own writing for sure, and I know when something is just not right. I am learning now it is best to not publish when I just know it is not my best.

      Great hub dear Bill.

      Peace and blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Arlene and I were a team. We were really good. We used our talent to help students get in colleges and get scholarships.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Although my son is my best critic (he pulls no punches, bless him) I would prefer critique from someone who's been there and knows. Thanks for the links, Bill. Have a bright weekend.

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 4 years ago from Italy

      This hub sounds very sensible. I am thinking of considering the things mentioned in the content area here like:

      Vocabulary

      Elaboration

      Word choice

      Single point of view

      Cohesiveness

      I want to developed more in this area.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Great suggestions!! I think the problem for many of us will lie in the sequencing of ideas part...or coming up with logical ideas. Think subjectivity is another matter too. Thanks for sharing!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      I think that the mechanics of writing (spelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax) can be easily improved---the recent HubPages newsletter suggested pasting hubs into a word processing program with spell-check features, etc., which would correct many initial errors. Careful self-editing and another set of eyes also does wonders.

      Perceiving the quality of the content is a bit more subjective, especially with creative work. I think the suggestion to read well-respected writers of the target genre is excellent. Then, we practice our craft. Your suggestions are all very helpful!

      I greatly appreciate the positivity of this writing community too. The mutual support probably does more for the creative process than improve our actual skills for the most part though, as you said. I find many, many typos and editing issues as I read through hubs, and though I appreciate the content anyway, the outside world is not so forgiving. If we want a wider audience and a decent reputation as a writer, we have to produce high-quality work.

      Thanks, Bill, for providing truly useful advice for all of us! :-)

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Bill,

      I write for therapy and fun, good tips!

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA

      I think I'm one of those who often hates their work- your tips of evaluation prove helpful- I find I have good punctuation, etc....Will bookmark for future use.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is great. I think i will join the creative writing workshop. Thank's Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Prasetio, thank you so much my friend. I appreciate your kind words. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! It will be in the eighties here today and you can bet we will be out enjoying it in some way. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! A writer should always be trying to improve.....that should be our quest, yes?

      Have a great weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I love your commitment to excellence. I wish everyone felt as strongly about it as you do. :) Have a great weekend my friend.

      blessings always,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, i love that commitment to helping others. Well done, Sir, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Phoenix! I wish you a wonderful weekend in the UK, and thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, a lot of that comes with practice. Words should flow....a well-crafted article should read like a symphony sounds....read it out loud and see if you hear the music. :) Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, you raise good points....thanks for adding to the conversation.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lurana, all of your points are excellent. HP serves many purposes, one of which is the positive support it provides.....we all need encouragement and HP gives that many times over. I know I would not be here if it were not for some very early support I received from some very giving people.

      Thanks my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Schoolgirl, I think those are excellent reasons for writing. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Schoolgirl.....it is hard not being our worst critic....I know I am, and will toss aside an article if it does not meet my standards. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I think you will find great benefit from doing that. Good luck to you my friend and thank you.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Bill, These are such good points you have made in this article. I am lucky, I do have loved ones who will give an honest critique of my work. I gave them a very first draft of an article I was working on just to get myself better organized. I failed to say it was a first draft and, boy, did they let me have it with everything that was wrong, culminating with "this is nowhere near your work at all." Until then, I always thought they were pacifying me with the "niceties."

      Whether I really think I'm good, well, I'll just keep writing and hope I will always get better.

      Take care!!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      This is chock full of helpful info. I certainly don't consider my self to be a "good writer", but I try. I never knew there were places that would actually help in writing skills. Thanks for that.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA

      Bill,

      I've been doing that more lately and I like the idea, but I promise I'll keep some of my stuff! LOL

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is yet another very useful article in your great collection of hubs for writers, Bill. Thank you once again for the helpful advice, and thanks for the links, too.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      Hi Bill-bro! Listen - most of my loved ones don't even read me! LOL..i swear - it's crazy - complete strangers want more - and my kids? don't want any! haha

      i love the idea of a forum! Which one do you prefer - or which ones?

      very unexpectedly - linkedin has suddenly become a huge 'forum' for me - i was in the top 5% of 'viewed profiles' last year. Before that - you could hear a pin drop..lol..

      the only indication i have as to whether i'm a 'good' writer or not - is by the comments i get here on hubpages and linkedin..

      Let's just say that i'm an acquired taste, but - those that have good 'TASTE' (lol) - seem to come back..

      Sadly - i've lost many 'friends' due to their disagreement with some of my political or social...or religious..beliefs..

      LOL..i'm actually surprised there's ANYBODY left!

      When i read Shauna's comment about some sites requiring one space, and others wanting 10am written a certain way - i could feel my creative juices beginning to leave me..

      If that's learning to write - i'd prefer to not...it sounds...individuality stifling..

      and btw - i think you're an AWESOME writer! i truly do! Thanks for hanging in there for me too!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, I love that your family will tell you that. Bev will let me know in a very gentle way if I've fallen below her standards....gotta love loved ones. LOL

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, you are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by and good luck if you visit some of those places.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      schoolgirl....good for you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Alicia...thank you for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, you are very kind with your praise of me and I thank you for that.

      I will be in your corner as long as you keep writing. Take that to the bank and deposit it. You have important things to say and the negative nillies can go take a hike. Who needs them anyway? :)

      love,

      bill

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You have taught me a lot and I really do appreciate it, which I know is a labor of love. I have always read, since a tender age, and feel that I have picked up some good habits in doing so, but I know that there is always room for improvement. However, I know that passion definitely helps. I have written since my pre-teens, have always enjoyed it, and learned now, that good photos will not hurt me. When those get better, I am sure that I will develop even more stamina and confidence to weather even more. Thanks again, Billy, you are a great help and guide in the mid-ground of my journey.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, whether you know it or not, your words touched me. I am a teacher...and a writer...and combining the two is a labor of love for sure. If I have helped you in any way then I am grateful and satisfied. Thank you my friend.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      We cannot see ourselves, we need a mirror to see our face. This is also true with our writing. Our works are our children, we feel the pain of gestation, how could we dislike our own creation. So, in order to judge our works we have to find editors and critics.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 4 years ago

      A very wise hub. Your advice is insightful and so practical. Thanks for sharing this great info. All the best to you Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, that was beautifully stated...yes, our works are like our children. Well done, Vinaya, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      toknowinfo, thank you my friend. Best wishes to you as well and I hope you are happy and well.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Such great information here, Bill, I am bookmarking it for reference. I plan to start paying more attention to structure as you defined it. For example: My maternal grammar always praised my work even when she couldn't find her reading glasses.

      My spelling is perfekt since I never mispell a word.

      Capitalization is a problem though since the dollar today is only worth about 4 cents.

      As you can see from this example/ punctuation is not a problem. Nor sentence completeness - just add a period. Regarding syntactic variety, I promptly pay all my various taxtics. And none of my sentences have complexes ... yet. As to usage I always modify a noun with an adverb. Or is it an adjective? Readability - that's easy - I just use a larger font. And my subjects agrees with my verb - they wouldn't dare do otherwise.

      Thanks for the riting tips - have a lovely weakend. :)

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 4 years ago from Italy

      You are such a wonderful hubber here with us. Please write more and encourage more writers on the site.

    • Rose Anne Karesh profile image

      Rose Anne Karesh 4 years ago from Virginia

      Online classes in writing can be another good way to get feedback and improve. I've taken a number of courses from Gotham Writer's Workshop, which offers online and in person classes and workshops. The environment is still friendly and supportive but the teachers give real feedback; they tell you what doesn't work and how you can improve. The classes also offer lectures on different aspects of writing which has helped me think differently about this craft.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj.....LOL...I am laughing too hard to respond.

      Anything I say at this point will take away from your brilliant comment. Thank you for the laugh my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I will do exactly that. Thank you for your kind words and following.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rose Anne, thank you very much for the suggestion. I will check them out soon.

      bill

    • jonmcclusk profile image

      Jonathan McCloskey 4 years ago from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

      Great advice as always, billybuc. This article resonates with me and gives me some vibes of positivity that I'm going to take with me to the keyboard.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      My personal take is that when I begin to think "I am a good writer" then maybe I would have become complacent and a bit too cocky. So for me my writing is always a work in progress.

      Writing and rewriting and editing and reediting keeps me on my toes.

      thank you as always, my dear Friend..for sharing your assessment suggestions for this world of would be writers out here to peruse and consider...

      have a lovely lovey Monday Angels are on the way :) ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jon, I love it....may your writing day be filled with positive vies all day long. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday PS! Truth be told I rarely feel like I am a good writer. I see glimpses of potential but I'm not there...and that just feeds my determination. :)

      Thank you and have a great week.

      hugs and blessings on their way

      bill

    • mariasial profile image

      maria sial 4 years ago from united kingdom

      I can't say anything about myself but you are truly a good writer. By the way, can you share some forum where we can get evaluate our work ... voted up and useful

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mariasial, there are so many forums. My suggestion is to do a search online and find one you are comfortable with...Writer's Digest has a good one if I remember correctly, but there are many good ones out there.

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      Are You A Good Writer? I have often wondered this question about myself. And I become even more insecure when I see HP writers with atrocious grammar getting really positive comments. I start thinking maybe people are just saying nice things to me but really cringing at my hubs! Anyway, thank you for these good ideas for getting a true evaluation. I appreciate you AND your writing! -Ginger

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ginger, you bring up a very good point. You can't rely too much on HP comments....most people are so nice they won't say anything bad. That's why I really believe writing forums set up to critique work are the best bet.

      Still, I love HP because of the community aspect. :)

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your honesty and I think it's a valid comment.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Hello billybuc.

      Impeccable. All informations of this hub are just telling me, pack and go. A question to be answered, best for me is without " good-" still the same I'm " not" a writer. So far all I do is reading best of good authors, commenting some ( others don't even dare to), and as you says the authors responding to my comments are very kind ad positive.

      Knowing my inadequacy , my self-reliance decreases due to lack of rigorios criticism , since no hub I have published yet .

      ( As known to everyone, the Engl. language isn't my first ) - and frankly I didn't past the test you've provided.

      To give up would be an option if a suggestion will occure .

      ( please forgive me, I have to stop here.)

      Voting up awesom and useful.

      May God bless you, so that you will continually be blessing to us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, God bless you as well. I am a big believer in the power of the mind, and self-assertion. If you say you are a writer then you are a writer. The definition fits anyone who has a passion for writing my friend. Carry on and who knows what will happen. :)

    • charlie cheesman profile image

      charlie cheesman 4 years ago from England

      billybuc i have only been writing for about 3 months i am dyslesic but i am trying not to let that hold me back i am learning the more i right and getting better i now go back and look over my first few articles and change them to make better, your hubs are interesting to me thanks

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Charlie, I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a writer with dyslexia....well done my friend. I love your determination to improve your craft.

      Thanks for a great comment and best of luck with your writing.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Reading and rereading great writers is what I am doing these days after I have read your hub on reaching for the stars. I am also reading everything on improving how I write. That is why I am here. I am learning much right now and hope to see improvements in my writing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am very happy to hear that, aesta! I admire anyone who is willing to learn and put in the work. Thank you!

    • mtariqsattar profile image

      Tariq Sattar 20 months ago from Karachi

      Hi bill, this is the first time, I have read your hub and looking forward to read more of your work. I must confess that this was very helpful Hub for me and for those writers who want to take their writings to next level. And you are bang on! about what you said at the start that one's loved ones are not the right people to be trusted when it comes to objective evaluation of one's work.

      I have similar advice for those whose work is evaluated from their kith and kin, and such evaluation is bound to be subjective in nature. To me, passion is key to writing, besides working hard and finding every opportunity to improve as a writer.

      Like I said, looking forward to read your work, take care always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you mtariqsattar. I'm happy to have you here and I'm glad you found value in this article.

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