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February 17, 2019

How to Be a Good Writer: All You Need to Know

It goes without saying that everyone, at a point in time, has ever wished he or she were a good writer. Most of the time, this wish comes when we have to write essays, letters, articles, or maybe, contribute to a discussion on social media. When it comes to speaking, most people don't have a problem, but when it comes to writing, it is like a nightmarish movie. Sometimes, not only do we not know what to write, but we also do not know how to write it. 
How to Be a Good Writer: All You Need to Know

Sometimes, it is funnily sad. We usually marvel at people who are voluble (able to express themselves in writing and speaking), and we ask ourselves how we can be like such people or even better.

Stop the marvelling and wishing! Help is here! In this article, we shall look at the following:
1. Who is a good writer? 

2. Misconceptions about a good writer

3. The making of a good writer

4. Benefits of being a good writer

Characteristics of a Good Writer
These characteristics simply define a good writer:

1. A good writer has a definite purpose.

2. He/She identifies his/her audience and writes to suit their needs.

3. He/She is careful in choosing the most appropriate language to transport his/her message.

4. A good writer has an appreciable mastery of the language he/she chooses. He/She obeys subject-verb agreement and tenses. He/She uses idioms/proverbs well. He/She has a rich vocabulary.

5. To a great extent, a good writer is easily understood.

6. A good writer writes for his/her audience, not necessarily for himself/herself.

7. A good writer is creative.

8. A good writer knows the KISS rule [Keep It Simple and Short].


Misconceptions about a Good Writer
The following are not wholly true about good writers:

1. A good writer studied Literature (or General Arts) in school.

2. A good writer is one who has published books or poems.

3. The language of a good writer is beyond the ordinary. You would need a dictionary to understand the works of a good writer.

4. A good writer always makes sense. He doesn't struggle to write.

5. A good writer writes or can write about a variety of issues, and is always on top of issues.

6. A good writer should be extemporaneous. He/She should be able to produce good writing at any time, whether informed about the subject or not.

7. A good writer doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't need another person to proofread or edit his/her work.

8. A good writer has an authority on everything he/she writes. He/She is a repository of knowledge. Whatever he/she says is true and should be taken hook, line and sinker.

9. A good writer doesn't need inspiration to write. He/She writes effortlessly.

10. A good writer is naturally gifted to write; he/she doesn't need training or coaching.

The Making of a Good Writer
We love to be good writers, but we don't like to go through the process which will make us one. Whatever is worth its salt is achieved, not through magic, but through hard work. The good news is that hard work, even though is not sweet, is rewarding. Hard work wins.

The same way you would need ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers, salt, nutmeg, oil, etc. to prepare a delicious vegetable stew, you would need some ingredients to make the "good writer stew". The following are a few ingredients:

1. Books
A good writer is a (good) reader. He/She is a lover of books. Apart from reading enriching your vocabulary, reading different authors makes you identify and appreciate your own style better. A writer who doesn't read other writers can only be a local champion. He/she is limited; he/she is good according to their own standard, but when the rubber meets the road, he/she will fail.

2. A learning spirit
A good writer is a learner, not only of classroom subjects, but of life. A person who does not learn lacks ideas to write about. He/She loses touch with the world around him/her. He/She is a living dead. Learning expands your knowledge base and sharpens your thoughts.

3. Patience
A good writer needs patience and tact just like a neurosurgeon. He/She shouldn't be in a haste to publish his/her writings. He/She needs time for the dough in the writing to rise. He/She is careful to pay attention to grammar, spelling, word usage, etc.

Sometimes, it takes weeks, months, or even years to publish a single work. Every good writer understands this. This is the secret: As a writer, revisit the work you have written weeks or months later, and if you are still impressed with what you have done, feeling the same fire and zeal, then publish it!

4. Editor/Proofreader
Every good writer needs a trusted editor or proofreader who would oversee his or her work. Having an editor doesn't mean you are less good or skilled in writing. Everyone understands the language of his/her profession. An editor or proofreader will run laboratory tests on punctuation, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, capitalisation, paragraphing, etc. Don't take these things for granted. Do well to pay whoever (even if it is your friend) offers to edit or proofread your work; it may be the only source of income for the person.

Benefits of Being a Good Writer
1. Job
 Being a good writer creates a job avenue for you, whether part-time or full-time.  

2. Fame
We know the likes of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Kofi Awoonor, Manasseh Azure, et al. because they are good writers. Being a good writer makes you famous.

3. Voice
Being a good writer gives you a powerful voice that many people listen. The art of writing provides the writer a platform to air his or her views.

4. Personal development
Good writers know they must read wide and be abreast of issues. This obligation contributes to their personal development in thoughts and actions.

© Eric Nuamah Korankye (Hamlet)

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