When it comes to being a brilliant writer, what comes into your mind? Is it about the amount of work you put out there? Or it’s the quality of work and the impact it makes in the lives of readers? I ask these questions because we often put our minds to the ton of work one has out there when we talk about being an excellent writer. And it’s the reason when you ask for advice on becoming a better writer; people will tell you, write every day.
But that’s not entirely true from my experience as a writer. When we talk about someone being an excellent writer, it boils down to the subject. The message they carry across distinguishes them from every other person and earns them the tag: A great writer. Anything away from it, being it having so many works out there or writing every day, doesn’t make you a great writer. It’s all about your message and the value it creates for readers.
How to become a great writer by applying the 70/30 rule
The 70/30 rule isn’t a rule in theory that I have read somewhere. If it exists, that’s great. But it’s a rule I’ve just discovered from my writing experience. When I started writing some months ago, the single most received advice I had from everyone I spoke to in becoming a great writer was to write every day, which was very profound because it helps you build the habit.
But, being in the profession for some time, what I have realized is that if one can become great at writing, it would demand one thing; a great message. Because think of it. What would the benefit if what you are writing and publishing every day isn’t affecting the readers? What would be the essence of it? There wouldn’t be any. That’s why, as a writer, your focus must be on creating valuable content. Not just writing, and it’s where the 70/30 rule comes in.
So what’s this 70/30 rule? What benefit would it give you as a writer? It’s straightforward — read and research twice more than you write. I was writing a lot when I started writing — an article every day, sometimes two. As it helped me build the habit, I must be honest; it didn’t help me become great. The reason is that excellent writing, as I have said earlier, is all about value in the subject.
Every writer readers associate with the term, a great writer isn’t because of the number of works but the quality. From this, I realized if I would be great as a writer, I must put in more effort in reading and researching instead of just writing. The same applies to you, too, if you dream of earning this tag someday. Read more, research more, and write less. That’s the way to excellent writing. And you’ll always create value for the audience when your works are out there.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” — Stephen King
What all the great writers do you must also do to become one of them
I have read books about writing (I still do) and have watched and listened to influential writers who have been a blessing to the writing world with their works, like Brian Tracy, who has over seventy books to his credit. Among all of them, the one thing that defines them is their enthusiasm and obsession with writing. With this enthusiasm, they always have their writing tools with them everywhere they go.
Apart from reading and researching to create valuable content, they carry tools such as pens, notebooks, notepads, and everything they need to gather information. In one of his interviews in his book, The Practice, Seth Godin advises us to put more effort into our works to make them better than focusing on putting them out there to be known.
And as a writer, I believe one way to do it is by having your tools to gather the needed information. I do the same everywhere I go. I carry a pen, a mini notebook with me to note things. I also use my cellphone to capture ideas that come to me through my obsession. You do not want to bypass these tips as they make it possible to realize your dream of becoming a greater writer.
The one thing that could prevent you from becoming a great writer and how to overcome it
As becoming successful in every area of life takes receptiveness, failing also takes complacency. And this terrible habit takes shape in this way; my works are getting appreciated by the audience. The feedback is excellent. I’m a talented writer. I have arrived at the destination, etc.
This attitude often eats into the head of writers, making them think they are great and have arrived at the doorstep of success. So, instead of focusing and putting in more effort to better themselves and their works, they leave that to chance and stop doing the needful. If you want to succeed as a writer, you’ll need to be a lifelong learner and receptive all the time.
It would help if you did not let the little success you’ll have from readers, giving you great feedback eat into your head. You must keep doing what’s required and expected to stay above the waters, which is a continuous and never-ending improvement (C.A.N.I), as Tony Robbins puts it. Not doing this but think you’ve reached the destination because of excellent feedbacks, and response will cause you to fail in the long run. Be mindful because this attitude has killed a lot of dreams.
Becoming a great writer stems from creating great content — quality. It’s doesn’t come from creating tons of content — quantity. To achieve this feast and cement your name among the greats requires you to put more effort into your works by applying the 70/30 rule: more reading, more research to get yourself equipped with important information, and write less. After all, what’s the essence of writing more if you can’t affect the world with your works?
And with this, you do not have to bother yourself getting your name on the lips of readers to earn the tag, “great writer.” The moment your works are out there and the audiences chance on it, they’ll spread the message. And it will all happen by the value in it. This, for sure, is the way to becoming a brilliant writer. Anything away from it isn’t possible. It’s quality over quantity. Not the other way round.