Blog Post #1- What is Good Writing?

Writing is a lifelong skill that can always be improved. Many people don’t enjoy writing simply because they convince themselves that they are not good at it. Everyone has the potential to write well if they put their mind to the task and ask themselves the right questions.

George Orwell, an English novelist, believed that a writer must ask themselves six questions when writing every sentence: “What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? Could I put it more shortly?” and “Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?” These six questions can help a writer mold and shape a well written sentence.

With keeping these questions in mind, a writer must also write in a unique manner. Every person has their own “voice” or “style” of writing that helps make it distinctly theirs. Trying to write like someone else will often lead to frustration and could even lead to unintentional plagiarism.

It is also important to keep in mind that becoming a good writer does not happen overnight. Practice does not necessarily make perfect, but practice does make progress. With this mindset, one can improve their writing skills without getting frustrated with overly high expectations of themselves.

When striving to become a successful writer, it is important to take advice and critiques from older, more experienced writers. When a writer allows other people to read his or her work, they can receive feedback that will strengthen their skills. Then more people that read one’s work, the more helpful advice they will get.

Ann Handley states that “[g]ood writing is grounded in data.” Readers do not want to waste their time reading information that is not credible. Researching the topic by several different sources to back up a claim will allow the author to gain trust from the audience he or she is writing to.

Another way to gain trust from a reader is to include one or more counterclaims. Acknowledging other viewpoints and being able to refute them with reliable evidence is a key skill to good writing.

All writers have a unique style and unique perspectives. A truly good writer is someone that practices often and takes feedback with gratitude, because it will only strengthen his or her skills.

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