While there are many factors that play in to what would be consider “good writing,” there were three words that came to mind the moment this question was asked: good writing should be relevant, interesting, and thought-provoking. When used in its correct form, writing has the ability to connect a banker to the jungle or a farmer to the city. Good writing builds bridges across the minds of people who, by all definitions, are completely different. Some would describe it as the ability to convey emotion, but in my experience, the best writing is the kind that made me think. There may not have been much emotion (Although, who doesn’t love a good book that can make you cry at the end?), but the subject matter and choices that the characters made had me reconsidering what I thought about certain issues. Take the book 1984 by George Orwell. After reading this book, it took me a few days to wrap my mind around the truth in what he was trying to say. Thought-provoking writing is what makes a difference.
One of my professors once made the point that, unless you truly care about the subject, the audience for your writing will see right through you. At first, I didn’t believe him, but as time went on, I realized how true that statement was. Writing is not about a word count, but about the subject matter. If you asked me to write an article on volcanoes in Hawaii, for example, the article would most likely not be very “inspired;” however, this does not mean that a writer cannot write about something they do not personally enjoy. The key is to take the subject you’ve been assigned and find something about it that you can either relate to or argue against. Whether you’re telling a story or writing an article, learn to care, even on a small scale, about what you’re trying to say.