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What Does It Take to Be a Good Writer?
Everyone writes whether they know it or not.
Some spend their days writing on forms, writing checks, and writing memos while at work. Some write on chalkboards, write on tests papers, and write on report cards.
Some write term papers, write notes in class, and write emails. Many write blogs, write in journals and write on notes left in lunch boxes. And so many more write for fun, for money or both.
But what is it that makes you good at writing? You don’t have to be a professional writer to be good at what you are doing.
Being good at writing emails, memos, and contracts will help you to succeed in your career. Being good at writing term papers, emails, and notes will help you to make good grades and graduate with a degree or other accreditation. And writing good blogs, emails, and notes for lunch boxes will help you to create memories in the minds of your children and others.
Even better, for the professional writer, writing good books, articles, and blogs can make you money, increase your exposure through marketing, and develop a credibility that will help you to be more successful at what you do.
But, once again, what makes you a god writer? There are many characteristics that increase your chances of being good at writing.
The first is a passion for what you are writing, along with patience, persistence, a desire to learn, good structure and organization, and maybe just as important, a good knowledge of proper grammar and spelling.
With all of these characteristics in tow, not only will writing become easier, and you will be more successful in your writing, but you will really start enjoying the practice, and have more fun. Let’s see why.
What makes you want to write?
I really believe that to be a good writer you have to be passionate about what you do.
How boring would it be to sit and write all day long if you didn't enjoy what you were doing?
I can't seem to get the words out fast enough. I feel this strong need, this desire to write about things I know, to write about things I want to know, and to write about topics that will help somebody to solve a problem or need.
I think it helps that I have a lot of experience in a lot of areas, and that I love to talk.
I have always had this need to express myself, and now I can, and people want to read about it.
if you don't love to write, and don't have something that you want to talk about, being a good writer is going to be much more difficult for you.
I always tell those that I hire to write for me did they should choose something they love to write about, because that enthusiasm and passion will inevitably show up in their writing.
Writing is usually a slow process. It takes a lot of forethought and research, a lot of preplanning, and a good deal a brainstorming.
My article ideas come in chunks. Of course I have a lot of topics I could write about, but I'm just simply not passionate about any of them that day.
And if I am not particularly passionate, the article will come out badly regardless of how much research and preparation went into it.
So I have to wait and see what comes to me. Sometimes that just means I need a day off, and other times it means I need to do something inspiring.
When I feel like I'm just waiting for a new topic to come to me, I'll usually go on a walk, take a shower, or sit back, relax and watch a movie.
I really don't like waiting. I would rather just be writing, but it’s not that easy.
I have also experienced "the never-ending article." the one I'm talking about seems to take years just to get down on paper.
I work on it day and night, and find that every morning for like a week, I'm sitting down in front of the same article.
This usually means that I need to focus on something else for a little while. lol Writing definitely takes patience, but it also takes a great deal of persistence.
Writing, even when you’re passionate, isn’t always as easy as it sounds. There are days I don’t feel so well. There are days when I’m distracted, and there are days when ideas simply won’t come.
But I don’t give up.
In fact, I think my biggest complain being a full-time writer at home, is that I get cabin fever and feel the need to get out and do something outside of the house. It's hard to write effectively when all you can think about is getting away.
It’s easy to get distracted, want to go out to dinner and/or to a movie, hang out with friends, talk on the phone, and do anything but sit at the computer any longer. However, I know that the only way to reach my goals, expand my article bank, finish another book, and make money for the household, is to sit down and keep writing.
Some days are definitely easier than others, and I’ve learned how to get myself back on track. First of all, a nice long walk outside with my puppies always does the trick. Sometimes it’s just a nice change in scenery and some exercise to pump more oxygen to my brain, and I’m back on track.
If I’m lucky, I’ll become so motivated and re-energized by my walk, I’ll have half of another article written before I get home.
(Check out Evernote.com for this amazing app that allows me to write into my phone, sync with my computer, and copy and paste my work right off the internet into my Word Document.)
If this doesn’t work, which is a rare occurrence, I take a nice hot shower. Waking up, going right to my computer, and immersing myself in writing, sometimes makes me forget about food, water, and basic hygiene, like a shower.
Getting in the shower kind of washes off the funk, physical and mental, refreshes me, helps me to get a new perspective, and allows me time to relax and clear my mind. It’s usually at this time I get that chunk of ideas I was talking about and have at least three new articles to write.
If writing gets tough, you can’t think of any ideas, and you long to get away from your computer, do it, but don’t give up. Do what it takes to give your body what it needs, and then sit back down and keep going. It will pay off in the end.
A Desire to Learn
Any good writer not only wants to inform and help others understand a topic or fix a problem, but has the same desire for the information they are providing themselves.
Regardless of how much I think I might know about any topic, I always find that I learn even more by researching other articles on my topic.
Not only do I get some good support for my article from other resources doing this, but I learn how to provide more information in my article than I can find anywhere else on the internet.
In fact, some of the best articles I’ve written have come from problems I was having here at home, or from questions I might have had for which I needed some answers.
My desire to learn more about the world around me, like how to fix the static in my husband’s work clothes, what to do with small children when it was too cold to go outside, and even what kind of cookies to take to Thanksgiving dinner with me, has provided for some great articles, and likely answered the same questions I’ve had for others.
The desire to learn alone will inspire better work, a better quality of information, and articles that answer more relevant questions for readers.
Structure and Organization
Part of having a great article is having an article that is fun, interesting, and easy to read. I’ve read many an article with lots of good information in it, that bored me to tears, and I love reading.
I think I read the first couple of paragraphs three times before I gave up. I kept forgetting what I was reading, and my mind would drift elsewhere. It was like trying to read a chemistry book. Of course it’s going to be well-written, but who wants to curl up in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate and a chemistry book.
One great way to ensure you have an interesting article that captures your readers’ attention and is easy to read is by organizing your information and providing some structure. What’s great is that it also makes writing your articles 100 times easier.
Have you ever heard “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them?” I know thinking about paper writing skills from high school sounds horrible, but those skills still work now in your professional and personal writing.
Your articles should have an introduction that, well, introduces your topic, gives your readers a little history, and explains why they should be reading your article.
The body of your paper should include headings making your points stand out under which you include at least three reasons for the heading, and they should end in a nice conclusion that reminds your readers of the most important parts of your article, and gives them closure.
Having these critical organizational and structural pieces in your articles will make your articles even better and make you that much better of a writer.
A Healthy Knowledge of Proper Grammar and Spelling
Although a writer can be passionate, patient, persistent, and have all of their ducks in a row, improper grammar and misspelled words can distract readers from even the best of articles.
It’s important to use the write programs that will catch any mistake that you make, write and the reread anything writed, and posibly have someone else reed article as well befor publishing it.
This way you can avoid some of most comon gramar and spelling arrors. Personally, I set Microsoft Word program gramar and spelling check to highest setting.
Not only does it catch any mistakes on me part in Word dokument as I’m create them, but it also katch any mistakes I missed wonce I copy and paste my work it HubPages. The liklihood that their’s something wrong with dokument is very low wonce me publish it.
On occasion I even go back and read through many of passed article, and if per chance, I find mistake, I can jump in and correct emidiately.
I think I have a slight leg up on most individuals writing for internet publication, as I have a Doctorate in Education and a very well-honed writing skill, but even I make mistakes sometimes; usually from just writing too fast.
See my point? Did you catch the mistakes? It’s harder to purposely make mistakes than you would think. lol
If you have decided to pick up writing professionally, most, if not all, of these characteristics likely come naturally. I don’t know of any professional writers that don’t at least have a passion for writing and something to say.
If you just write for personal reasons, or you are considering the possibility of picking up writing, I highly encourage it. Writing gives you an outlet for self-expression, is great for recording, analyzing, and understanding your emotions, and it gives those that have a need to say something a place to say it.
When it comes down to it, anybody can be a great writer, and there are so many mediums in which to do it.
A good place to start, I’ve always said, is to write about something you want to write about. If you like to rhyme, maybe poetry or song writing is your niche. If you feel strongly about social problems, express your opinions that way.
Maybe you just want to write beautiful short stories. You never know who will benefit from them as well. Just get it out, write it down, and enjoy yourself. Many of these other characteristics will come in time, especially as you become a more experienced writer.