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What Are the Qualities of a Great Writer?

Heather is an Author, Illustrator and Jill of all Trades. She has several career certification achievements, in multiple industries.


Writers Are Unique

Writers are a bit of a conundrum. Writers thrive in solitary isolation as it allows them the time and space needed to master their writing craft, gain clarity and record their thoughts. Writers acquire their inspirations for writing through their environment, experiences, and interactions with others. Great writers are skilled at creating relatable characters, organizing literary content, and the best writers have the ability to manipulate the feelings of their readers. A simple conversation, humorous situation, or memorable event can spark the creative juices of a writer.

Ironically, many great writers tend to feel awkward at social gatherings, feel more at ease with smaller groups or prefer one on one social interactions. Prolonged periods of exposure to larger crowds may be overwhelming or cause overstimulation for the writer. This is because many great writers are what you could call: Introverts.


Great Writers Are Observant and Mindful

A person with an Introverted personality naturally acquire a heightened awareness of their own emotions, surroundings, and the people that occupy space in their immediate proximity. An introverted writer has the natural ability to observe, analyze, understand, and even empathize with human behavior because they are more in-tune with their own emotions. This type of skill is also identified with people who are considered empathetic to another individuals needs, environment, and emotions.

You can adopt an empathetic mindset towards others by becoming more aware of others. Like yourself, everyone has periods of difficulty that affect their finances, relationships, physical disposition, or even their spirituality. When you become mindful of others you naturally begin noticing mood changes, and form an inner dialogue within your thoughts.

The next time you find yourself in the company of others such as your favorite coffee house, the grocery store, or at a restaurant you should try this exercise:

  • Observe and note your surroundings (conversation levels, sounds, smells, people)
  • Be Conscious of areas that stand out and jot down simple notations
  • Casually focus on a human subject (Just please don't stare)
  • Take note what type of clothing they are wearing (color, style, cleanliness)
  • Start breaking down more information about your subject
    How tall is your subject?
    What color is their hair? (If they have hair)
    How would you describe their skin tone?
  • Then begin your inner dialogue that focuses on them as an individual. You might ask questions such as:
    "I wonder what they do for a living?"
    "What happened today that put them in their current mood?"
    "Do they have children?"
    "Why do they have a stiff posture?"
    "What type of car do they drive?"

The point of the exercise is not to learn the answers to these questions, but to wonder and make up your own story about these individuals. The more interest you take in other people, and their stories, the better writer you will become.

This ability is a healthy contributor in works of fiction for writers who seek to expand their creative writing skills especially if their primary subjects of interest encompass largely in part human nature, human relations, and social dialogue.

Being observant of human interactions, and emotional reactions will help a creative writer create well rounded characters, convincing/moving backstories, and offer an unlimited amount of material to work with.

A Great Writer Connects With Their Readers

A great writer knows how to connect with their readers, successfully create content that reflects that knowledge, and keep their readers coming back for more.
How do they do this? What's the secret?

Here it is......

Understanding human nature

Humans are very emotional creatures. Emotions drive and motivate us toward action. Certain written or spoken words, used properly, will unconsciously trigger different sets of emotions that are naturally embedded in human nature.

A skilled writer has the ability to manipulate the emotions of their readers by strategically utilizing these emotional trigger words in their content. Being able to connect with readers on an emotional level is only one, but highly effective, way that writers improve their writing skills.

You can read more about specific words that trigger emotional responses here.

Okay, using emotions to connect with readers. That make sense right? What is another way writers connect with their readers?

Through relatable Characters and/or Experiences

When you understand human nature, natural responses to situations or events, and know what are likeable or unlikeable attributes for a person, you will be more skilled with character creation. Relatable characters will have realistic emotional responses, and perform natural physical responses, as they deal with problems that require a solution, or interact with other characters within the story. Character details, realistic character response, and basic character interaction will build quality content.

Using REAL Geographical locations and Historical Timeline Events

Regardless whether the written content is meant to be a work of fiction or non-fiction, using real geographical locations or notable historical events will make the writing feel more tangible to the reader. When a concept is tangible it is believable and when a concept is believable then you've connected with your reader. Be aware, that when you choose to use a certain location, you must have done your homework. Think about the seasons that would affect that area in the timeframe you have placed the story. Be well versed in your historical facts, and include bits of this knowledge within your writing content.

Using Conversational writing tones

Using a conversational, or informal, tone within your writing is another method writers utilize. This particular method is utilized in sales copy you would read on webpages, product advertisements, 'How to' articles and emails to name a few. Authors will also use this tone in combination with a first person narrative.


Great Writers Are Readers First

A writer that doesn't enjoy reading is in the wrong profession. To become a great writer, you must first become a great reader. How can you learn effective ways of reaching your readers if you are not willing to read literature for yourself? People that read are either seeking knowledge, looking for an escape, or want to be entertained. A writer that can fulfil all three of those needs simultaneously have become masterful storytellers.

Think about your reading experiences.

Have you come across any Author or Authors whose work inspired you, motivated or moved you in some way? Think about the tones in which the Authors' messages were delivered. What type of writing do you favor? How descriptive are the Authors you enjoy most? What genre do you most enjoy reading? What have you noticed about words and transitions that your favorite Authors use to effectively describe environments, characters, and actions within a story?

If you begin to mimic (not copy) the style of writing you enjoy most, then your writing will begin to morph, evolve, and ultimately improve.

A Great Writer Has a Firm Grasp on Grammar, Spelling, & Vocabulary

Having proper grammar skills, the ability to spell words correctly, and an extended vocabulary in your writing arsenal are very useful, but you shouldn't be discouraged from writing if your grammar is less than perfect.

In this day and age writers are provided with unlimited resources that can assist them with everything from proper sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, to synonym and antonym references. Even the most experienced and talented writers need assistance in these areas from time to time. Modern day published Writers and Authors enlist the help of proof readers, editors, grammar check software, and will even perform a google search for synonyms to avoid over usage of a particular word or phrase. Nothing could turn a reader off faster than a redundant sentence.

Punctuation Help Video

A Great Writer Desires to Improve

A great writer will always have a desire to improve their writing. A writer who admits that there is always room for improvement in their writing and is eager to continuously make improvements is one of the best qualities that a great writer can have. A writer's focus should always be about their readers. Writers have a responsibility to both their readers and themselves. A great writer will dedicate time and effort to ensure quality content for their reader regardless of the genre or topic. The content created, the stories woven, and the knowledge passed is a direct reflection on the writer's credibility, their creative thinking, and mindfulness of their readers.

Knowledge and language are two of the most amazing gifts that mankind has been given. As a writer I am grateful to be able to play a part in the passing of knowledge and I feel blessed if I successfully acquire a connection with my readers.

I wish you well on your writing journey. Thank you for reading!

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© 2018 Heather Ann Gomez