What makes a good writer?

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A good writer is constantly striving to reach new levels in their work. They take their time as they carefully craft and construct their piece and even when they’ve spent hours upon hours revising it it’s still not quite good enough. Writers are up there in the top twenty when it comes to which profession consumes the most coffee and this does nothing for the tell-tale neurotics in the writing community. Writers are a little edgy, a little paranoid and a little obsessive due to the streak of perfectionism that runs through them all. You cannot be a good writer without an open mind and a key part of being open minded is knowing that you’re not right and that you don’t know everything. Close minded people think the way they do things is the correct way and damn everything else, well, this applies to writing too. Writers are perfectionists, neurotics and obsessive because they know what they’ve currently got still isn’t good enough and that they can still do it better. So they revise it, edit it, tweak it, scrap it, rewrite it and still end up unsatisfied. It’s only after days upon days, nights after nights until a good writer can sit back and go, “I suppose that’ll do then.” It’s funny; the longer it takes to fill a page is not always a display of having no talent but rather it displays a degree of self-control, self-doubt and the meticulousness of a skilled and dedicated writer.

He's a literacy genius.

He’s a literacy genius.

People who are passionate about their art are never satisfied because they strive to achieve greatness and they understand that this is not just a passing fancy; it’s a lifestyle. Passionate people aren’t doing what they love because it’s their job or their hobby; it’s not a way to pass the time it’s a constant, unrelenting drive. The difference between a good writer and a bad writer is the difference between a professional athlete and playing tennis on the weekend. You don’t switch off and you’re not necessarily doing it for pleasure or leisure.

But most of all good writers are humble and genuinely want and desire feedback for their work; however good or bad that feedback is. It’s natural for us all to get a little defensive over something we’ve crafted but a good writer has the ability to step back and take a little perspective on the matter. A good writer values their editor because they are humble and appreciative of a different point of view and trusts in the ability of an editor to filter out some of their work. A fearful, defensive or even arrogant writer will try to speak louder and louder over the editor or the voice of criticism and, though understandable, is not a means of improving themselves or their writing.

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