12 Becoming a Good Writer Takes Work

Gina Tabone

People are not born good writers. Being a good writer takes time and a tremendous amount of hard work. The “author god” from the mid 20th century created the theory that the best writers were the chosen ones. They were hand-picked from the “author gods” and were born with the advanced skill of writing. Just like how some people are gifted artists, they were also said to be hand-picked by God. Good writers were not the chosen ones, they worked hard to refine their skills. When people believe that they are not the best writer, they tend to slack off and not write to the best of their ability because “they were not born a good writer.” This notion has been in the minds of students and adults that they were not born a good writer so they never can have the above-average ability. This idea has been believed since the mid 20th century, and some still believe it to this day.

When many people sit down to write they struggle. It is not because they are an unskilled writer. Even the best of writers and authors have a hard time starting a piece. That is where many people start to believe they are bad writers because they take some time trying to start the piece. Writing is a skill that everyone can possess if they put the time and effort into it. Being a good writer is not inherited from birth, or being the chosen one, it is taught and developed over time.

The resources you have as a student, even as an adult can affect the access one has to learn about the standard way of writing. However, it is not impossible. Nowadays computer-based composition is used more than pen to paper. But people still use a pen to paper. Writing with a pen and paper rather than typing on a computer, is easier for some people because the ideas flow better when writing rather than typing. There are books at local libraries, one can read and learn skills to become a better writer. Even with limited resources, there are still ways, if the person puts the work in, to become a knowledgeable writer. Interacting with peers/classmates/coworkers also makes you a better writer. You can learn so much from your experiences and the people around you. Writing is taught and learned over time; writing is not a natural talent that is developed at birth.

Writing is unique to everybody. Writing for school and writing for pleasure will have a different approach by the author. Writing for school the person is so worried about meeting the criteria and having perfect punctuation and spelling. Writing for pleasure is more laid back and creative. It just takes a relaxed mind while writing creatively and putting that mindset into their professional writing, the ideas might flow better.

Ways to Improve Your Writing

Reflecting and editing written work is what makes it better. “A successful writer—whether someone working alone or with a community group, or as a university student, professional writer, or any other way—is not one who necessarily writes more but one who persists and reflects on the work done as a means of improvement” (Jill Parrott, 73).  No one’s first draft is going to be perfect. You should not get discouraged if the first draft is not what you were hoping it would be, that does not mean you are a terrible writer. Reflecting, revising, and editing your writing makes all the difference. Catching your mistakes and knowing how to fix them for that piece and future works is what makes good writers. Learning how to effectively revise a paper is what makes better writing. Being able to look at your writing and have an open mind to change will make all the difference.

Anne Lamott wrote a great article called, “Shitty First Drafts.” In this article, she states, “Start by getting something – anything – down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the downdraft – you just get it down. The second draft is the updraft – you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy”. This is such an important concept to reflect back on when writing. This also relates to effectively editing and revising your writing. Being open to changing your writing is crucial to being a good writer. The first draft does not have to be perfect; it is there to get your ideas down on paper. Then you revise and write a few more drafts to clean it up. This tip can improve one’s writing greatly.

In some cases, why it is believed that people are born good writers is that some have a natural ability to write about a certain topic. If someone is a sports medicine major, they will have an easier time writing an article on sports medicine as opposed to someone who is an elementary education major. That sports medicine major was not born a good writer, they have prior knowledge and are interested in that topic. The elementary education major will have a much easier time writing an article on IEPs or lesson plans, than the sports medicine major. In other words, these two people were not born good writers, they are just more comfortable writing about topics they know and have studied. That goes for anyone and any topic. “People can and do read and write (and read and write again) all the time. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others offer daily opportunities for reading, creating, and responding to texts. Many people are experts at those activities but then lack the experience and facility to recognize the rhetorical requirements of other contexts or genres” (Parrott, 71). People read and write all the time; social media is a big reason for that. Some are more comfortable sharing their thoughts online, that does not mean they are an expert writer because their work is online. It is just what they are more comfortable with, so they write more on the platform they like. Everyone is more comfortable writing about subjects they know, that does not mean they were born a good writer, it is just comfortable/familiar writing.

Writing styles are unique to every person. No two people write the same, so who is to say that one person is born a good writer and the other is not. It all goes back to how they were taught and how they maintained and developed their skills over time. “Research in writing studies shows that improved writing can be taught to writers at all levels” (Parrott, 74). Good writers are taught, not born. At any level, one can be taught skills on becoming a good writer and improving their writing, maintaining them is what makes a good writer.

A person has to believe that they can be a good writer first then the hard work comes next. If the person has no faith in themself and their writing abilities then they will have a hard time improving. You first have to believe in yourself, then devote time to developing skills in writing. Teachings of good writing happen in the classroom, at home, tutoring, videos, etc. There are so many resources one has access to, to improve their writing abilities. People are not born good writers, good writers take the time to develop their skills and know-how to improve their writing. Good writers are not born, they are taught.


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Good Ideas About Writing Copyright © 2021 by Gina Tabone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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