What Makes a Great Writer?

I believe it’s inherent in every human being who practices enough at the skill of writing to become a great writer. Every person has thoughts that need to be expressed. Intelligent discourse is the only way in which the human race can truly survive, after all! 

So, it’s good our society stresses the importance of writing skills to such a great degree. However, this dedication to teaching writing skills seems to be often conducted in the wrong way. It seems that it’s important to ask what makes a great writer, and how can anyone become one?

One-Size-Fits-All Teaching Methods Don’t Work for Writing

Schools seem to try to teach a singular method, a one-size-fits-all way to write for everyone. I’ve always believed each individual needs to develop their own way of writing on their own. When you try to force everyone into a formulaic routine method, you strangle creativity. That is one reason why I suffered early on in junior high and high school: they stressed the importance of writing a five-paragraph essay and were very unforgiving to those who strayed from the guidelines.

The five-paragraph method can be an excellent tool for outlining a paper. But, to force students to write a five-paragraph essay on every assignment that they do isn’t always truly applicable. Perhaps, it is the case that some believe that the five-paragraph form is the only way for some people to learn how to write. I don’t believe this is so. It never was years ago. Why dumb it all down now?

What makes a great writer is not simply about how beautifully they craft a sentence – although that is a great skill to master. Perhaps, the verb ‘master’ is the most important word that I can stress to budding writers. Don’t concern yourself with being perfect, or you will only drive yourself crazy. Nothing in this world can ever be perfect. But, you can be close to perfecting your writing craft with substantial practice.

Everyone Sees the World, and Writes From, A Different Perspective

It’s the drive for discovering the truth that makes a great scholar. Likewise, it’s the obligation of great writers to share their own angles with the rest of the world. We each approach reality from various angles. That’s what makes each human being’s perspective unique.

That reality is different for everyone is an inescapable conclusion. However, we’ve come to a point in our society where it seems that people simply can’t agree to disagree. We can’t be forced into joining camps of opinion. We must learn to take our varying perspectives on reality, then reach a consensus on what the truth really is.

So, then, what is the truth? Answering that question should be the goal of every writer. Do not simply regurgitate facts and ideas that you read in a textbook or read somewhere online – even from a reputable source. Criticize everything that you see, hear, and read.

You may not consider yourself a great writer in terms of “talent.” But, with practice, you’ll find that the talent to share knowledge and ideas to the world is not simply a gift given to those extraordinarily proficient in vocabulary and composition. Critical thinking and writing teamed together, as well as great practice and effort, will help you find that perhaps there is a great writer living inside of you.

You’ll never know until you just start writing! Start by becoming a good writer first. If you stick with it, you’ll find what can make YOU a great writer. That’s different for everyone, and that’s OK!

~ Amelia <3

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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