Writer people have vary definitions of good writing. What one reader loves, another one hates. J.K. Rowling, one of the most popular and most wealth writers alive today, is often criticized for her prose, lot of adverbs, some say. Similarly, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was called a “dud” by many of his contemporaries.
And of course, this goes for just about any other so-called “great” writer. There are those that love these writers and those that don’t. And perhaps, that’s perfectly fine. Maybe what it means to be good is really just our way of saying “I like this” and “I don’t like this.”
How to Be a Good Writer
Read it all.
To becoming a writer is becoming a great reader. You have to read everything. Read stuff you know, like and don’t like. Ask the used bookstore for a recommendation, ask a friend what the last great book they read was, and read all three.
Read translated poetry and old biographies and Wikipedia articles.
Read everything you can get your hands on because what you absorb will subconsciously become a part of your writing. The more diversely you read, the more distinctive your voice will be when you write. A writer is an amalgamation of everything he or she has read. So own it.
Nail it down.
You’ve got to nail down the basics. That means minding your Ps and Qs. And people are totally split on this one. You either think you know everything there is to know about the English language, or the mere thought of nailing down grammar rules has you in a fit of panic because you think you don’t know anything. But either way, you’re probably wrong.
If you think you know everything, do you know the difference between single and double quotation marks? Or the difference between British, American and Australian English? Do you know when to spell out numbers in writing? These are all worth considering, and they barely skim the surface of grammar and spelling rules.
Mastering the language is, of course, an important step in becoming a writer because if you don’t know how it works, you’ll have a hard time constructing sentences that will make your heroes weep with envy.
Just try it.
Now you’ve just gotta try it. You don’t have to dive right in headfirst and write an epic poem. Beginners in anything need time to breathe and float. So go ahead! Dip your toes in. Write one sentence. It might sound a little obvious, but every story begins with a sentence. Believe me, there is a vast ocean to draw from. So dip your toes in!
Plot it out.
Now, you can begin to contemplate the thought processes involved. What goes into actually building a story? Sure, it’s been fun to just free-write, but it’s time for some direction! You said you wanted to be a writer, that you wanted to write a book, right? But how do you figure out the tiny details of such a large-scale project?
Get psyched about it.
I like the anticipation. It’s good to get supercharged before you do something because you generate a certain passion for it. And when you have that passion, you’ll launch into it with everything you’ve got. You’ve dipped your toes, but soon you’ll be high-diving headfirst. Are you ready for it?
Don’t be scared; get excited! You’re a writer. Remember that every additional word you write gets you that much closer to your goal. Each sentence is a sentence that would not have been written if it wasn’t for you.
Just do it.
Time to actually do it. You’re extremely prepared, so it’s time to write. This is both the easiest and the hardest step because there are no hard and fast rules for actually writing. The biggest goal is to tell a good story. Many writers have played with both format and plotting to do so uniquely. After all, rules are made to be broken.
Stick to it.
It’s so important that you stick to it. If you forgo writing one day just because you’re a little tired and you’d rather marathon instead, it will seem innocent enough. But soon, one day will turn into two, and that will turn into ten, which will turn into thirty, and so on. Once you break any kind of streak, it’s difficult to recover. Get in the habit of writing, and get into it so deeply that you can’t escape. Stick to the small goal you made. Writing hundreds words is not difficult. Stick to it so much that you get stuck on it.
Writing is rewriting. It’s one of those clichés that’s cliché only because it’s so true. Some people take this “writing is rewriting” business so seriously that they will literally rewrite their story sentence by sentence, fleshing out original thoughts, expanding, cutting down.
Once you’ve gone through and rewritten it, figuratively or literally, you should edit it. Here’s where those skills come in about nailing down rules of the English language. If you worked on it, this step is going to be a whole lot easier.
Seek advice on it.
I’ve told you that the most boring step is learning grammar and spelling and that the hardest step is beginning to write, but the scariest step, by far, is seeking advice.
You can go to your friends for questions about whether a scene is realistic, and you can go to your family for a pat on the back for having finished your novel. But please don’t go to them expecting that they can give you helpful advice for improving your story.
If you want to be a writer, you’ll probably have to share your work with the world. Well, it’s finally here. You’re about to become an author. Take a deep breath, and set sail into the unknown. Your polished work will need some kind of publishing platform, so it’s time to consider your options. Do you want to submit script to publishers?
Keep up with it.
You’re a writer and an author. As an author and writer, it’s best for you to keep up with the field. How do you do that? Well, you should keep reading, and you should keep writing. You may also wish to keep up with the publishing industry or begin writing a journal. But you’ve done it. You’ve finally learned how to become a writer.