Some writers live the dream of being published. They have fans and readers who let them know if they are good or not. They have editors and agents to tell them what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Mainly, they have fans that help make everything better.
On the other hand, it’s easy for unpublished writers to feel inadequate, because when you don’t have readers, how can you know if you’re good or not?
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Well, there is a way. Over the years, great writers have all shown qualities that they all have in common. Does having these traits means that you’ll be a great writer by default? No, you will still have to do the hard work of writing. But, it does mean that you’re on the right path.
1. Being observant
Writers are observant and have excellent memory. The ability to recall a building’s appearance, or the gestures a person makes while speaking can be the difference between a good and a great book. It can be the difference between show and tell. Remembering the sound a train makes as it departs and arrives, being able to describe it in detail can pull the reader inside the book. Being observant means watching faces and people and noticing things about them. Different facial features, clothing, ways of standing and sitting – when a writer observes, he or she also does research.
No, you don’t have to go out of your way to go out and observe the world. But, you can observe when you can. When you wait in line at the bank or the grocery store, take your eyes off your phone and look around. Instead of walking around with your headphones, music blaring in your ears, listen to the sound the city makes.
Being observant is not difficult to learn, nor is it an inborn trait. It becomes a habit after a while, and it can be a fun way to pass time, especially when you have to wait, walk, or commute. Most of all, you don’t need to observe and think how you will use what you see in a book. That will come later, and it will happen naturally. All you need to do is observe and absorb.
2. Open to new experiences
Locking yourself up in a sterile room without distractions is a good idea if you tend to get distracted while you are writing. However, a writer also needs to be out in the world and experience new things. Spending all your time at home writing will improve your writing, but you will soon run out of steam because you will lack experience. Yes, a wild and vivid imagination helps, but it doesn’t help if you have nothing to connect it to.
So say yes to your friends once in a while and get out. Go for walks, go to the gym, go dancing. Experience things. You never know the effect that will have in your writing, and it will definitely be positive.
3. Detail – oriented
When it comes to writing a book with a good story and a tight plot, being detail-oriented is imperative. When you have nearly ten different characters that play a major role in your book, you need to know many different details, even if you don’t need to write about them in your book.
For example, if you wish your side characters to have distinct voices, you need to know them as well as you know the protagonist. Sure, the protagonist’s best friend’s age, birthday, and favorite color might never need to be told of or mentioned in the story, but all of those things have an impact on the character. Being able to remember these things will help you bring the character alive in the pages.
Moreover, paying attention to details will help you avoid any plot holes. You will be able to catch plot holes as soon as they happen, which will save you a lot of editing time, especially since it’s tough to fix a plot hole without making major changes to the story.
Being a writer, in essence, is about wanting to tell a story. It doesn’t mean that you need to be born with a wild imagination, although it does help.
But, just like being observant can become a habit, exercising your imagination and creativity on a daily basis will become a habit as well. Soon, you will be more creative, and have more imaginative ideas to use in your books, and you will be able to draw upon this when you sit down to write.
So, don’t fret if your imagination doesn’t come when you need it to write. Exercise your creativity daily. You can use many different exercises. For example, you can take a situation from your book, and write several what-if scenarios. See where they lead. See what else you can come up with. Brainstorm. Most of all, never think that the traits of a writer cannot be developed. As you write, you will become more and more creative and imaginative. In turn, that will help with your writing.
This is the big one.
Finishing a manuscript takes patience.
Editing your first book takes even more patience.
Being patient and going through the moments when you feel like your writing will never be decent, let alone good, is difficult.
But, the writers who possess this patience become published. It is the writers who are able to grit their teeth, fight and defeat their inner critic and keep the critic quiet are the ones who have excellent manuscripts to send to publishing houses.
Image credit: Pixabay[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.