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:
- 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: