Writing is one of the most important forms of communication; it is personal yet far-reaching. Clear communication is the key to good writing. Unless ideas can be transformed into concise, unobstructed text, those ideas will never be shared effectively with others.
In a blog post, author Ann Handley gives nine different qualities that make up good writing. These were later transformed into a book called “Everybody Writes.”
Good writing is meant to have answers for the reader. Every sentence should be direct, clear and self-explanatory. After reading, the audience should not come away confused or seeking clarification.
Accurate facts are vital to good writing. A reader is more likely to believe an author if the author’s story or argument is based on grounded facts.
To clearly convey their message, an author must explain their every action. Without clear explanations, a reader may not understand the purpose of the reading.
Good writing addresses more than one point of view. Unbiased, factual writing makes it easier for the reader to come to their own conclusions. Even if the author has their own opinion, they cannot totally ignore alternative points of view.
The first draft of a work is never the final draft. While the first draft assembles the key ideas and themes, a work is not complete until it has been scrutinized for every possible mistake.
The more logical a person’s writing is, the easier it is for the reader to understand it. Writing is meant to guide the reader from beginning to end, and without logic, the author will lose the reader along the way.
A writer must write for the ignorant, but at the same time they should not assume that their audience is stupid. Good writing is easily understood, although its concepts can be difficult or complicated. A complex subject often makes for good writing, as long as the idea is explained well.
Many authors will say the same thing, but one idea can be retold in many ways. Good writing does not always contain a new idea, but it approaches the idea in a new way.
A good writer knows that they still have a great deal to improve upon. Complacency is the death of good writing. An author can always improve, and unless they are aware of their deficiencies, they will never become a better writer.
Writing is a continual process, and good writing can always become better. The key to good writing is adaptability and a desire for excellence.