7 characteristics of good writers

Good writers use books to help them write better

Good writers use books to help them write better

What's the difference between good writers and bad ones? Jeff Goins puts it down to perseverance and a willingness to elicit feedback and take criticsim on the chin.

I agree with him, though I think it's more nuanced than that. In my opinion, good writers have the following characteristics:

  • Perseverance.
  • An ability to recognise the difference between small things and minor ones. Oscar Wilde defined a day's work as taking out a comma in the morning, and reinserting it in the afternoon. That was a small change. But it wasn't necessarily a minor one.
  • Good writers write for the (potential) reader, not to  show off how clever, erudite and articulate they are.
  • They are open to legitimate criticism, by which I mean feedback on the quality of their work for its own sake, not for the sake of displaying the cleverness of the critic.
  • Good writers read a lot in the area they write about.
  • They also read a lot, or at least think a lot, about the craft of writing. Or, failing that, write a lot. Some concert piannists practise for 8 hours a day, and athletes train incessantly. Why should writing be different?
  • Good writers enjoy writing, and it shows in their work.

The article by Jeff Goins to which I referred at the beginning of this article is here: 

The difference between good writers and bad writers