No writer is perfect. Readers are the best judge of good writing. When I say ‘good’, I refer to the extent that a book is appreciated by its audience. Is it entertaining enough? Does it deliver what it promised when the buyer picked it up? Is the language flawless? And most importantly, does it leave a mark on the heart?
While we all have varied tastes and preferences when it comes to books and writing styles, there are a few traits that I find in most successful writers. Here goes my list –
- An author who wishes to write a good book, is usually observant of his/her surroundings. That involves being inquisitive about people around them, situations around them – be it political, personal, societal. It also means that the act of staying in isolation and writing, has to be balanced with intense observation of the outside world.
2. A good writer has empathy. People often confuse this trait with sympathy. Empathy is the ability to share what another person or being (animal) is feeling. It is basically the art of putting yourself in another person’s mind and heart and understanding exactly how they are feeling.
3. Every good author I have met or heard of, is a bookworm. For us writers, reading books inside and outside our own genre is a part of the job description. Not only does it make us happy, but it also gives us learning in the form of exposure to different writing styles, vocabulary, settings and characters.
4. Writing takes patience. You can’t write a book in a day. Some books take years to write. Success comes much later or never at all. In fact, authors who choose to publish through the traditional route get used to waiting a year or more before they see each subsequent book. They just keep calm and write.
My last few books were self-published, but I still struggle with the fourth trait!