Lots of people want to become writers. The question however is can anyone be a good writer

While anyone can be a writer, it takes a lot of work to become a good writer. You need to develop the characteristics of one, including strong language/vocabulary skills, discipline, and attention to detail. A love for reading and an openness to criticism are preferable for aspirational writers as well.

You can further improve your writing skills by practicing, reading a lot, and editing articles. Signing up for a writing course is a foolproof way to enhance your journalistic abilities as well. If you want to work on your writing skills, then read on. 

Characteristics of a Good Writer

So what makes a writer good, anyway? If you’re hoping to become one, then you need to develop these characteristics.

Strong Language and Vocabulary Skills

Clear language and a vast vocabulary set good writers apart from ordinary ones. As a writer, you need to get straight to the point, as beating around the bush won’t help. To do this, you need to use simple yet precise language that your readers can understand. 

Then there’s your vocabulary. If you have a limited word range, you’ll end up repeating them over and over again. 

Remember: Nobody wants to read the same word every two sentences or such. 

Writing Discipline

A good writer is not born in a day, and you need to be disciplined to write, edit, and rewrite content almost daily. 

Without discipline, you won’t be able to improve your style. There will be times when you feel like laying in bed and sleeping that extra hour, or when you feel like chilling on the couch watching your favorite Netflix show.

However, if you want to be a good writer, you need to discipline yourself to get out of bed or get off the couch and write. Even if you write for 10 minutes a day, that’s going to help you improve.

Attention to Detail

If you want to become a good writer, then you need to have excellent attention to detail, as this can help you avoid writing mistakes, which are often unnoticeable to most people. Many writers will place an extra period or apostrophe in a sentence without realizing it, and won’t even notice it.

Of course, most editors seem to miss that too. So you need to learn how to discipline yourself to look at the small details that make your writing either bin-worthy or post-worthy.

Love for Reading

Many great writers are avid readers, as books help them explore different frames, tones, and syntaxes. These, after all, are vital for improving your craft. You can learn what great writers have done, and how they handle certain topics. 

Open to Criticism

Even if you have the qualities above, being open to criticism will help. 

How To Become a Good Writer

Now that you know what it takes to become a good writer, it’s time to work on these skills. Before moving forward, however, you need to let go of your ego. You might think your writing skills are great, but then when an editor takes apart your writing, you decide that you’re not that great after all.

Your ego might get in the way of improving your skills for two reasons:

  1. If you don’t get criticism on your writing, you might think you don’t need to improve.
  2. If you do get criticism on your writing, you decide it’s not worth it and quit.

So to become a good writer, you need to get rid of your ego and realize that you can learn, but also that criticism is necessary for your growth.

Let’s now look at the steps to take to become a better writer.

It’s All About Practice

Robert Stacy McCain once said, “Writing is a skill, not a talent. The difference is important because skill can be improved by practice.” 

In other words, you can become a good writer as long as you practice well. Even the most talented of scribes sharpen their pens from time to time. 

Let’s look at some writing exercises that should help improve your skills.

Freewriting 

As the name suggests, it’s all about writing anything, or everything, you want. It can keep your mind active, which comes in handy if you often experience writer’s block. You don’t need to spend a lot of time free writing, either. 

Devoting at least 10-15 minutes of your daily time will go a long way. 

Sentence Building

Choose any sentence and use it as the first line for whatever piece you want to write. By doing so, it will help you generate more ideas so that you become more creative in the long run. Or, you could buy one of those story starter books that ask you questions that you can answer. 

Read, Read, Read

Simply practicing your writing skills is not enough. If you want to improve your vocabulary, which is a must for any good writer, then you should read more. When reading, try to study the writer’s point of view and word choices, which should help you pick up a technique or two.

While there are many things you could read, go for literary fiction or research articles. According to a study, it can help you undertake more intricate writing projects in the future. Add to that, other articles often require grammatical touch-ups and whatnot. 

So if you want to become a better writer, read complex works instead.

Work On Editing Content

As a writer, you must have a good grasp of grammar and syntax, which is easy to edit with apps right now. So if you want to go further, then try editing content. Start by visiting a blog site. It’s better if you’re not a fan of it.

Pick an entry or any article that you wish to check. Proofread and edit it the best way you can, and try to check for run-on sentences, wordiness, or lousy sentence structure. Not only will this improve your editing skills, but it can help enhance your writing ability.

Sign Up for a Writing Course

While heeding the tips mentioned above will help, it’s good to learn from the best. The best way to do so is to sign up for a writing course, which is just like college, only quicker. The best part about this is that you don’t need to maintain a grade.

Unlike before, you don’t have to spend much money NOW to enroll in a writing program. 

Many free courses are offered by sites such as Udemy and Coursera. They allow you to sign up for courses offered by universities such as Harvard and Yale. Depending on the program, you may even get a certificate after completion, which may come in handy if you want to seek work as a professional writer. 

Final Thoughts

While anyone can write, becoming a good writer can often take a lot of work. 

It’s a matter of channeling the characteristics of one, such as discipline and attention to detail. Strong language and vocabulary skills are helpful, as well as a love for reading.

Most importantly, you need to be open to criticism if you want to improve your craft. Keeping this in mind, you can hone your skills further by practicing, doing a lot of reading, and editing articles. Signing up for a writing course is a thing you should consider as well. 

Sources


Ol Adams

Letter Review is currently edited by Ol Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Ol Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. Ol has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.