Thursday, March 15, 2018

What Skills Does a Good Writer Need?


When it comes to being a successful writer, it’s about so much more than merely putting pen to paper. There are so many skills that a writer needs to employ, not only to write well, but also to cope with the stresses and pressures of the job.
Working on all your skills will keep you being the very best you can be, so let’s take a look at the strengths and skills every writer needs, and how we can work on them to become better, more productive and proficient at what we do.

Communication skills
Being able to openly express your ideas is what being a writer is all about. Of course, it is important to be able to do so on paper. However, having the ability to speak about your ideas, to summarise them succinctly and also listen to feedback from others, and ask the right questions is also so useful when it comes to realising your writing vision.

Observation and detail
Writers need to be super observant. They need to have their eyes wide open at all times and pay attention to the little details of things. Being observant is not just about looking around you, however, it’s also noticing the way people behave, interact and react to one another and the ability to understand and tune into their motivations for doing so. Being a great observer of the world will help you develop your characters and create your own fictional worlds in an authentic and exciting way.

Problem Solving
All writers come up against various problems as they work, and being a good problem solver is so important. You need to be able to analyse your ideas, as well as be impartial and notice the strengths and weaknesses in your text and come up with workable solutions to help your characters overcome obstacles and improve your writing as a whole.

Patience and calm
Writing is all about playing the long game. Not only can it take a long time to pull together a great piece of work, but waiting to hear back from publishers takes ages too. Being calm and positive about your writing, even in the face of rejection will also keep you on the right track and minimize time spent wallowing!

Writers need to be brave; they need to take risks, to step outside their comfort zone and be okay with launching themselves into the unknown. Playing it safe just doesn’t work for writers so make sure you always write with courage!

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation skills
On a more practical note, writers should always work to improve their spelling, grammar and punctuation. Doing so will enable them to craft better prose from the outset and reduce time spent editing too.

Research skills
An excellent piece of writing usually requires a lot of research. Being a good researcher takes practice. You need to know where to find information, the right questions to ask and which bits of what you have learnt to include in your story to make it more believable. Researching is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to all writers, but the more you do, the better you will become.

When it comes to being a good writer, it’s all about dedication and practice. If you want to be a professional and productive writer, it is essential that you understand what skills you need, and keep working on them to continually improve.

What skills do you think makes a good writer? Let us know!

I agree on the length of time taken to write a great piece of work, as it has been more than two years now since beginning. And I still don't know how much further I can go, but time will tell.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation are one thing I have been careful about. Too often I see people failing to insert commas where they are needed.When seeing this, I always get reminded of a meme I have seen online that says "Punctuation saves lives," illustrating the difference between saying "Let's eat Bob," and "Let's eat, Bob." I'd said in another post that I wasn't sure whether to use dashes or commas to offset info in cases such as this:
...They acted as if I’d missed the event of the year, when all I missed was one of those movies that—like The Wizard of OzIt’s a Wonderful Life and The Ten Commandments—comes on TV every single year. ...
But I still manage to find punctuation mistakes each time I look over what I have written. Everyone still does it, but it's good to know that you have made such a mistake the looking over what you have written.

I did some research on depression and antidepressants to to include in my memoir, especially on dysthymia, which many people still aren't aware of. Even many of the people who attend the mental health center with me are among  those not in the know, as most of them have either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, both of which are much more well-known. Few also seem to know about cyclothymia, considered a milder variant of bipolar disorder.  I have yet to meet anyone with that form of depression. Before my dysthymia diagnosis, I'd had little to no knowledge of that form of depression. I was certain I might have bipolar  disorder or possibly even cyclothymia, from what I'd read about that one. I knew it would be important to explain each of these for the reader who may have little to no knowledge of these terms. 

When I began the memoir, it seemed too short for a book, so I began doing more details to each subject I had chosen as the topic of each chapter. The more I thought about it, the more I was able to remember and include. Some I might not have wanted to include at first, but eventually decided t do so. I see this as being brave about doing so, and about good communication written  on the page.

Trying to get others to read my stuff is another thing I have trying to get braver about. It's been hard finding people who want to read my work. 

How do these work for you?


  1. I'm terrible about telling people I'm an author. Most people who know me in person have no idea until they show up somewhere I'm selling my books. LOL I need to be braver at telling people what I do.

  2. Not an easy job. I am so very grateful to the authors who do persevere and hone their skills.

  3. I'm with Kelly. I seldom slip, 'Oh, by the way, I'm an author,' into conversations;)

  4. PS I also agree with EC. It's not an easy job.