The 7 Habits of Good writers

1 Reading other’s work

The first thing that you have to do to be a good writer is know how to read. And if you think that you can just stop reading because now you’re writing you’ve encountered a major pitfall. Reading other people’s writing is essential to good writing. You can write and write, but if you don’t read even a newspaper article than you have lost the interest in the written word. Your isolation will become apparent to your readers, and no one likes a secluded author. If you’re thinking I’m wrong about people not liking a reclusive and mysterious cliche of a writer than you don’t know what they’re doing in their seclusion. The only people not reading anything and writing large texts are uni-bomber types clicking away at a typewriter as they write their insane manifesto.

2 Recognizing opposing arguments

The best part of a believable argument is one that the opposing side is presented. A person can agree or disagree with your argument, or in some cases your report. If you shed light on both sides of the story you don’t alienate readers. If you have to take a stance then you should always look at the other side and present facts to discredit this opposition. This will make your argument more believable, and in the case of a subjective report you will have both sides of a convoluted story that allows people to pick which side they are on without having to disagree with the writer. Most times it is best to remove yourself and your personal opinions from your work.

3 Fact checking

This is one of the most important things you can do, unless you write for the Onion and have no foothold in any sort of reality. You can look foolish and many other things if you don’t check your facts before hitting send or publish. Even fiction writers need to do research on their subjects. You can’t go in blind and not know anything about what you’re writing because there are people out there that do.

4 Continued learning

Have you ever taken a writing course at your local college? If the answer is no than maybe you should. Taking a single course may give you the perspective you need to improve your writing exponentially. If you think you know your definitions and syntax but don’t think you can be creative enough to write that novel then take a course at a local college at night and see if you can write a good story with the guidance of an educator.

5 Noticing trends

When someone reads an article what do they want to read? Knowing your audience is essential. For trends to be useful to you writing you have to capitalize on things you know will work. If your demographic is mostly Millennials it may be okay to use a word you found from the Urban Dictionary, but not if your audience consists mostly of Baby Boomers. If your audience is mixed, you should probably stick with actual words.

6 Learning new words

Language is changing faster than ever in the digital age. New words are added to dictionaries all the time, and you should know these. Apps like the Dictionary.com app have taught me that there are many words I don’t know. Technology is a tool for learning that should be utilized often. Even archaic words are okay depending on the context.

7 Always remembering the syntax

Syntax is not just grammar, or even spelling. You can know the words but you have to put them in the right order. Is a word too colloquial to use for this paper? Are you going to get a mark for using a phrase that you don’t know has sound grammar? Knowing your syntax and whom to say it to is important.

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Blake is a writer who specializes in content writing and novel-length fiction.

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