‘I’m just not sure if my writing is any good…’
Have you ever had this thought about your work? It’s a common phrase I hear from many of my clients and one I occasionally ask myself.
But what is the definition of ‘good’?
When a reader gives you a five-star review?
When a literary agent takes an interest in your work?
When you win a writing competition?
When you get a publishing deal?
All of these are great achievements but you can still be a good writer without them. Indeed, you can achieve these and still write badly on occasion! However, it’s important to remember that writing is a craft and therefore can be improved. Bad writing can be edited.
An alternative to good is effective. Does your writing achieve its objective, whether that’s to inspire, entertain, or inform? For example, there’s an Instagrammer I follow and her captions are full of grammatical errors - however, I, like the rest of her thousands of followers, love her content; it’s funny, relatable, and helpful. In other words, it’s effective. That being said, a social media post is a very different ball game to writing a book. For me, personally, a great writer is someone on their way to developing their own authorial style and a great goal to aim for. In the meantime though, here are are six signs that you’re probably a good writer:
1. You have a good imagination
Creative writing requires a high level of imagination in order to avoid cliche, predictable stories. Novel writing is highly competitive and your imagination is going to help you stand out and give a unique take on something. You might also be highly observant in your surroundings taking note of small details that can be used in your work.
2. You’re open to learning
I’m always slightly nervous when a writer is reluctant to receive feedback. It’s such an important part of a writer’s life. It’s not always easy to hear, but if we’re not open to feedback, we’re not open to learning and there are always ways to improve on our work.
3. You had lots of pen-friends growing up
Pen-friends! Remember those? There was nothing more exciting than receiving a letter from across the world. For many writers, the love of writing starts early in childhood. For you, writing a thank you card to Aunty Sheila wasn’t a chore. English was most likely your favourite subject and you probably wrote in your diary each day. I was definitely one of those children and as much as I love technology, I’m happy I grew up with pen and paper rather than a device.
4. You’re always asked to write things for other people
Are you the go-to person in your organisation for writing or editing important emails or reports? Does your best friend ask you to read over her content for a new website? Do you get asked for suggestions on people’s CVs? There are various things you might get asked to do because for many people, writing isn’t a skill they want to develop. If you’re recognised by others as someone who can help, chances are you’re a good writer.
5. Writing gives you clarity
A good writer is able to convey ideas clearly and you’re able to structure your thoughts in a way that makes it easy for the reader to understand. You also know the rules of language enough to remove grammatical errors and repetition.
6. You read voraciously
I’m yet to meet a writer who doesn’t enjoy reading! Reading is not only relaxing but it’s likely given you a wide vocabulary, determined what genres you like best, and influenced your writing style.
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