What makes a good writer?

When it comes to writing, you either have it or you don’t, right? Well, yes, that’s basically true…however, there are some traits you you need to develop to fully succeed in the editorial world.

In addition to being able to turn a good phrase (while demonstrating impeccable grammar, of course), writers have to have patience. Sometimes words won’t flow write away, or your interviewee keeps rescheduling. Whatever it is that temporarily prevents you from meeting your deadline quickly, know that the piece will come. Just be persistent and you will get your story.

Secondly, it is essential to develop a thick skin. No matter how amazing you think your piece is, odds are there will be somebody that shoots it down, even a little bit. Perhaps you’ll need to re-phrase a quote or develop a different angle. Whatever the task, never take criticism personal. Revisions are going to happen; rarely is it a reflection on you. As an editor, I’ve used track changes to re-work more documents than I can count. When the tables are turned, I’m fine with any tweaks that need to be made to my own pieces because I understand the editorial process. It’s all about the content and what’s needed to make it the best it can be, especially when you’re promoting someone’s brand.

Finally, if you’re going to be communicating a particular message, you need to listen. In any initial client or company meeting, be sure to be attentive and take as many notes as possible. That way, when it’s time to write the piece, you have all the required elements in front of you. Sounds logical but believe it or not, the listening process can get lost along the way. Sometimes writers have their own idea about how to make a project work and they don’t necessarily take other ideas into account. Remember: clients (or your managers) are the boss. If you genuinely listen to what they want and acknowledge the types of audiences they plan to communicate to, you can deliver a product that they’ll be happy with. After all, they are paying you!!

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