“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” – Anais Nin
Writing is a craft – perhaps one influenced by nature and nurture. But as you grow and develop, and undergo your own process of evolution, so does your writing. You gain new ideas and knowledge, engage in new experiences, learn life lessons along the way, and harness the power of imagination and creativity. As you live life, you breathe new life into your writing.
For some, writing becomes an outlet – a way to express their innermost thoughts and connect with others. A passion for writing may soon develop along with an unrelenting desire to become a great author. But how do you know if you’re a skilled wordsmith? While others may tell you that you wield your pen like an instrument of beauty, you can use the following list of Hemingway-inspired qualities of talented writers to serve as a barometer:
1. Talented writers are creative – This quality is not just applicable to writing fiction. You can showcase creativity in any type of piece just by making clever connections, using analogies that stimulate the readers’ senses, and disseminate information in a fresh, novel way.
Your creativity is unleashing the creativity of the reader. He/she should be able to easily envision what you’re writing, and perhaps even wonder what will come next … and is desperate to find out.
The talented writer is building intrigue, suspense, and curiosity with the audience. Predictability is thrown out the window in favor of twists and turns, and even unexpected outcomes. Issues are not looked at in a superficial way; rather, they’re dissected where the reader gets a close up look at a character, or even topic.
The quantity of words is not nearly as important when scrutinizing the subject. It’s the literary devices the writer uses that gives rise to the flood of images conceived by the reader.
2. Talented writers are students of the world – My grandfather used to say that “We’re guests of existence.” Great writers should be very observant guests.
Writers don’t just go through life; they thoroughly live it. They SEE the world and make conclusions. And they FEEL DEEPLY about their experiences and what they witness. So when they take pen to paper, the result is a culmination of those intellectual and emotional insights.
Often, as a result of keen observations and emotions that surface, talented writers write with purpose. They’re desperate to convey a point of you, inculcate a lesson, or long to let the reader know about something of consequence.
Moreover, observations expand the writers’ awareness which is reflected via the written word. Knowledge grows and the writer’s repertoire of analogies proportionally expands as well.
3. Talented writers write consistently – Close your eyes and think of the grace and beauty of Olympian ice figure skaters. They’ve catapulted over their competition and mastered so many skills through sheer determination, persistence, and effort. Many practice over 12 hours a day, at times getting up in the wee morning hours just to perfect their craft.
Similarly, talented writers use every opportunity to convey their thoughts and emotions through the power of the pen. They don’t look for excuses to take time off from writing; instead they look for ways to incorporate writing in their daily routine.
As a result of consistent practice, writing become a natural outlet. And by also taking the time to proofread, revise, and edit, they mold their writing into a work of art.
4. Talented writers are fearless – Remarkable writers are either fearless or are imbued with fear and write anyway.
Many writers battle perfection, believing they’re is a better way to phrase a sentence or express an idea. Consequently, immobilization may set in as perfection seems so elusive. Why even start writing prose if the writer feels that he/she is not a writing pro?
Other writers may feel that the audience will not respond favorably. You’re vulnerable when others are judging your work, and criticism and rebuke can be confidence destroyers.
But talented writers write anyway, damned the torpedoes. They may even tackle difficult subjects, knowing their point of view will generate some negative press. Regardless, they’re not afraid to express their opinion – whether it’s embraced or not.
5. Talented writers know how to tell a story – Let’s go back to those amazing figure skaters again. Aren’t they expressing themselves and communicating a story through movement, flexibility, power, and style? Talented writers have to employ those same devices to evoke a strong, hopefully positive, response from readers.
Talented writers know how to pace a story, and make their content flow in a way that makes sense and moves the story along. The audience is on the same page as there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding.
Talented writers structure their work as one part builds on the preceding part. Redundancy, boredom, and predictability (by maintaining the same structure and style throughout the piece) are the identifying characteristics of less talented writers.
6. Talented writers are voracious readers – It’s all about mind expansion and growing awareness. Sure, a great author can build on his/her own experiences, but why not benefit from the experiences of others? By exposing yourself to these new experiences and ideas, you’ll have a greater variety of ideas to draw upon.
Moreover, it’s enlightening to see how other authors express their thoughts, and observe the literary devices that they use. You want to be true to yourself and not copy anyone’s style or anyone’s written work, for that matter; however, you may decide to incorporate another writer’s device or technique that fits with the material you’re writing.
Of course, as you read more (rereading the same book is also encouraged), take notes. Don’t just write down new vocabulary words that you may wish to use. Jot down a sentence or two that you find exceptional; briefly explain how a section of the book evokes an emotional response within you. Dissect the books’ style, pace, manner of conveying information (is there a logical sequence of events?) … anything that you may find useful when authoring your own work, such as clever word usage.
Reading is fundamental to great writing!
7. Talented writers are never satisfied – The strongest writers continuously try to perfect their skills. They don’t just rest on past laurels; they want the material they’re currently working on to be their best work yet.
Towards that end, they perform incessant self-assessment. They review their material meticulously, and edit and revise with painstaking attention to detail.
Even the best writers want to become better! Their desire to master the written word is unquenchable, as many understand that full mastery may not even be attainable.
Therefore, talented writers understand their education is a lifelong process. Many continue to enroll in writing courses or seek coaching to perfect their skills.
By embracing and exhibiting these 7 qualities of talented writers, you’ll be well on your way towards becoming one … if you aren’t there already.
And if you find it impossible to become a great writer, take solace in what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad.” 🙂