Writing is a skill that has been practiced since the dawn of time. From cuneiform to hieroglyphics, and all forms thereafter, writing is not only used as a means of communication, but also to tell a story.
Today, new information is being developed on an ongoing basis, so the growing demand for writers continues to incline. But how does a writer create readable content that compels someone to actually want to read it in the first place? What constitutes good writing from the not so good writing? And just what makes a great writer?
Do you find yourself asking similar questions? When I first started taking my writing seriously, I had endless questions on the craft of writing and how to get good at perfecting it.
Read on to find out how you can use the same formula that writers all over the world use everyday. A formula so simple, I guarantee proven results within your own writing.
Writers vs Authors
To be a great writer, the first order of business is respecting the lane you’re creating for yourself.
A writer is not to be confused with an author, however, an author can be confused with a writer because they’re the same when used in this way.
Now depending on who you’re having this conversation with, (here’s the tricky part, ready?) these two are completely different, even though they can be used interchangeably. (head hurts yet?)
When looked at separately, writers are actually different from authors. Let’s take a look at this comparison in the most logical way possible.
You’re a writer if you write. Plain and simple. No rocket science here. You write stuff down, you’re a writer, and nearly anyone that can scribble things down can write!
Your next door neighbor’s a writer, your son’s math teacher is one too. The cashier at target is a writer, and so is your little brother. Writers come in all forms, and it doesn’t take much to be one. You see, the act of writing is to do just that...write.
Whether you’re writing a paper for school, jotting down a shopping list (this one’s my favorite!) or sealing a love note to your crush, when you write something down, the thoughts and ideas that you express on paper (or digitally) deem you a writer. There’s no fancy explanation for it.
The act of writing means you are a writer!
Now if you take that collection of love notes you’ve been hoarding all year long and actually went through the steps it would take to getting those said love notes published and available for the world to see, (though I wouldn’t suggest doing this because then your crush may find out who’s been crushing on him all this time and secretly sending him flowers at work, maybe too much?) you are in fact an author. See the difference?
Authors have published pieces of work, in any form really. Works could include, but not limited to, poetry, novels, short stories, and graphic novels, and published can mean traditionally or self-published (more on this in another blog post!).
You’re an author if you did the legwork and publicly showcased your writing via print or digitally on some kind of platform. But simply knowing the difference of a writer and author does not warrent you a great writer, obviously.
There are four important things you need to manifest in order to have this fine skill of awesomeness.
The formula for great writing has been used by all the greats. From Hemingway, and Fitzgerald, to Atwood, King and Roberts (see if you can guess the first names to these authors!) they have all followed this exact formula that I’m about to reveal to you and it has worked beautifully for them!
All great writers possess these four components:
Why do you want to write? This can be for any reason. Maybe it’s because you want to be proficient in your English class at school so you perfect your grade by diligently working on all your assignments and studying really hard. Maybe you’re trying to increase job performance, so you focus on writing professionally structured emails. Or maybe you just have an uncontrollable urge to express something inside of you that can only be best explained with words.
Whatever the reason, you need a purpose for writing, because that purpose is what drives you to write (sometimes insanely!).
As writers, we become compelled by the need to write about an idea or story that lives within us. This is the thing that makes us grab a pen and paper (or phone) and start scribbling away (or typing) like a mad person when creativity strikes at our core.
Has an idea ever popped into your head and you ponder over it long after you initially thought of the idea? You wake up thinking about it, you carry on doing your daily routines with the idea still lingering in your mind, you may even fall asleep in deep thought over it (I’m guilty of this! Lol!).
That my friend is your purpose that keeps bugging you! It’s the need you need to tell. The thing you have to share with the world or you’ll just die (okay you won’t, but it’s really, reeeally important to you).
You keep thinking about this idea because you're driven to manifest it into a beautiful work of written art and share it with other people! That compulsive feeling of the need to be expressive will loom over you until you execute action and expose your purpose, giving value to that wonderful story that lies hidden within you.
The second component for great writer awesomeness is to have belief in yourself as a great writer. You need to fully convince yourself that you can write and be darn good at it! Forget about grammar and style of writing, those things will come later, being a great writer means that you fully understand your capabillity to even write in the first place!
It’s not a guessing game. You’re either going to write or you’re not. It’s really that simple, and it doesn’t mean you’re better off as a writer or you’re better off not even attempting to be, it just means that if you choose to take your writing seriously, then you’ll need confidence to follow through and produce works.
All writers draw inspirations from something or someone to get their creative juices flowing. Inspiration helps you to picture your story idea. If you're writing a fictional piece, inspiration is what helps to build the emotions around your story. Maybe you look at pictures on Pinterest for ideas. Maybe you people watch. You could eavesdrop on conversations that scratch the surface of a vision you may want to indulge in.
Inspiration can come from ANYWHERE and at ANYTIME! And when it strikes, be prepared to get insanely driven with the desire to write as if your life depended on it! Without inspiration, writing can lack depth and be boring.
You have your purpose. You’re dripping with confidence and pulling inspiration from all angles of the universe! But you're missing just one last component to this amazing formula for great writer awesomeness, and that’s dedication. You need it. We all do. Every last writer on planet earth must be dedicated to their writing, if their goal is to be great. Whatever it is you want to write about, if you’re not serious about writing it and not committed to the motions it takes to get the writing done, then you being this great phenomenal writer has no real value when you utter it aloud for confirmation. (Even to yourself!)
You need effort, energy and will to write. You think Patterson sits around and just says he’s going to write his next book? No. He not only says it, but he takes the necessary steps to implement his dedication all the way to publication, and I could write hundreds of blog posts on all his successes!
Dedication will indeed put you on a path to succeed, although success in writing will look different to each writer, you’ll still need the dedication part to accomplish your writing goals.
Final piece of the puzzle
So that's it creatives! Wait, what? Were you expecting some fancy in-depth reasoning with ten astronomical steps on how to morph into the most amazing writer ever? Hold my cup of coffee while I find the answer for you.
No, what you have learned today are the core essentials of what it means to be the best writer you can possibly be. Your need, your sense of drive, your belief, your habits, your goals, those are the things that make a writer so great.
It’s not the amount of books a writer can sell within one year or even how much recognition a writer might receive, it’s the foundation that a writer builds for themselves, and how they keep themselves accountable. It’s the frustrations, the acceptance of fear and uncertainty.
All those other things like sales and popularity come with the territory (eventually), so don’t get caught up with comparing yourself to another writer/author and their accomplishments (more about this in another blog post!). Your focus should not be at the end of the road, but at the beginning, always ready and willing to grow and prosper in everyday #writer awesomeness!
Before You Go
If you’ve made it this far along, I’d like to say thank you for hanging out with me until the end! You’re amazing and deserve cupcakes and sprinkles and kittens and rainbows!
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I’m super excitied to reveal that I have lots more content to come and would love to share it all with you!
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Till next time creatives, stay beautiful in all that you do but above all else, stay creative!