The Difference Between Good Writers & Bad Writers

Nov 17, 2015

The Difference Between Good Writers & Bad Writers (By KKP)

by  Jeff Goins

The difference between  and bad writers has little to do with skill. It has to do with perseverance. Bad writers quit. Good writers keep going. That’s all there is to it.

                                                    What good writers do

Good writers practice. They take time to write, crafting and editing a piece until it’s just right. They spend hours and days, just revising.

Good writers take criticism on the chin and say “thank you” to helpful feedback; they listen to both the external and internal voices that drive them. And they use it all to make their work better.

They’re resigned to the fact that first drafts suck and that the true mark of a champion is a commitment to the craft. It’s not about writing in spurts of inspiration. It’s about doing the work, day-in and day-out.

Good writers can do this, because they believe in what they’re doing. They understand this is more than a profession or hobby. It’s a calling, a vocation.

Good writers aren’t  but they’ve learned the discipline of  of putting their work out there for the world to see.

                                                  What bad writers don’t do

Bad writers don’t understand this, which is precisely what makes them bad writers. They presume their writing has achieved a certain level of excellence, so they are often closed off to editing or rewriting. They can seem haughty, prideful, and arrogant.

But really, it’s laziness and fear (mostly fear)

Why don’t they edit? Why don’t they write ahead? Why do they give into the myth of the overnight genius? Because they’re afraid of putting the work in and failing. As a result, their work is scattered and disconnected, not nearly as good as they think.

                                                                How to be different

A lot of decent writers think they’re great. I used to be one of those people. Stubborn and pig-headed, I didn’t want to change. I didn’t want to grow. But I wasn’t that good.

When I ask people to rewrite a guest post or make suggestions on how to improve their writing, they get defensive. Or more often the case, I never hear from them again. It is a rare occasion to hear from a writer who asks for feedback and meansit.

Many want to get together for coffee; few want to write.

A good writer is humble. Regardless of skill, she is committed to seeing the writing process through to completion. No matter how grueling or  she will write. And she will get better.

So what can you, the aspiring writer with something to say, do?

                                                                    Make a choice

Choose to be different. Keep going when others do not. Go the extra mile that most will not take. Be amazing by persevering.

Take the c.rap job that pays nothing. Offer to be someone’s understudy or apprentice. Put the hours in, pay your dues. It will pay off. But you will have towork.

Don’t coast on talent alone. Let it remind you of the responsibility you have tohonor your gift. And if you’re not that good, well here’s the good news: you can get better.

You can outlast those who are lucky and out-work those who are lazy.

This all begins with humility. Which really means a willingness to listen and change. To do the work and become a professional.

If you do this, if you take the time to make your work great by never  it will make all the difference. So start persevering today.

Nov 20, 2015

How to deal with harsh criticism (By KKP)

First of all thanks to  Arshia10, Aasiqui, Farakhan, Ladgovrnrkechamkili, rdsyam ,Renee and Nandhinisankaran for their comments.

How to Deal With Harsh Criticism of Your Writing 

 BY Charlie Jane Anders 

There’s nothing more vulnerable than the act of making up stories. Whether it’s an introspective personal story or a seat-of-your-exploding-pants thriller, you’re taking something out of your unfiltered imagination and putting it into the form of a product. That people then criticize. How do you handle that?

Learning to deal with criticism is one of the most difficult parts of being a writer. You can’t write fiction (or screenplays, or games) without thinking, on some level, that you’re going to create something really great. That you have something unique and brilliant inside yourself, to offer the world. That your ideas are special and fantastic. And at some point, you’re going to have to face a reality check—this is true if you’re a beginning writer, whose work probably isn’t as great as you think it is, but it never stops being true. The best thing you can hope for, as a fiction writer, is to become so successful that you’re insulated from criticism or nobody dares to criticize your work any more. (And that usually leads to people’s work going downhill.)

As with so many things, the internet has massively multiplied the amount of criticism that any work of fiction is going to encounter. There are tons of review websites, but also anything that gets published as an e-book will have Amazon and Goodreads reviews. Some of these reviews will be an honest attempt to evaluate whether your writing is going to be worth other people’s time. Others will be just someone venting about their pet peeves. None of them will be concerned with your feelings, or aimed at communicating with you directly.

So how do you cope with criticism? The first, and most important thing, is to seek it out. For two reasons: 1) You need to get used to hearing that your work isn’t perfect and you’re not the next Octavia Butler. 2) Getting constructive feedback on your work is the best way for you to improve your writing so that you don’t give the critics more ammunition in the end.

There is a massive, huge difference between feedback that you’ve sought out, which is aimed at you directly, and criticism of your work that’s aimed at other people who might read it. You need to recognize the difference between these two things, and understand that in the former case, people are trying to be helpful to you, personally. In the latter case, it’s too late to fix whatever problems they see in your work, anyway.

But with that said, you can learn something useful from both kinds of criticism—even if a review on Goodreads isn’t aimed at you personally, you can still get something out of it. But you have to grow a thick skin.

So really, there are two separate problems here: How to grow a thick skin so you don’t take all criticism personally, and how to get something useful out of other people’s reactions to your work.

How to stop taking it personallyIt can be hard to stop taking harsh feedback on your work personally, because your work is personal. It’s hard to motivate yourself to finish a work of creative writing, unless you can convince yourself that you’re doing something really great. And you have an idealized version of your story in your head, that’s the best possible version of the story that could ever exist, and the actual finished work is an imperfect realization of that.

One time, I showed one of my stories to a friend, and his response started with something like, “This is pretty interesting.” And my immediate reaction was to hear that as, “Ehh, this was okay, I guess. If you like that sort of thing.” I was so invested in that work, and so desperate for it to be the greatest thing ever, I would have heard anything short of “I love this” as deadly criticism.

But the more you get used to hearing feedback, including negative feedback, on your work, the easier it gets. And you learn to get used to the disparity between your own crazy dreams for your work and the reality of being one among a bazillion writers, who are all just as talented and clever as you are.

And the more feedback you hear, the more you get used to the sense that people will never be able to communicate with you about your work in a way that satisfies that inner voice that allows you to believe you could be the next Heinlein, but is terrified you might be writing the next Eye of Argon.

But also, giving feedback is probably the best way to innoculate yourself against receiving feedback. You get used to expressing your opinion of someone else’s work in a way they can stand to hear, and that helps you realize how hard it is to do that. Also, writing negative reviews of things can help you get used to the idea that someone will give you a negative review, too. (I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world if I didn’t welcome harsh reviews of my creative writing, at this point.)

So one huge, crucial thing is to join a writing group, take part in workshops, join reading circles, and generally take part in activities where you’re criticizing and being criticized. Get used to it. Stop taking it so personally. Recognize that you’ll never be able to see your work the way other people see it — which is why you need feedback. But also, hearing a lot of opinions on your work at the same time can help with recognizing that each opinion is valid, but is just one person’s opinion.

Getting something useful out of criticism

Again, the first and most important thing to remember is that people aren’t commenting on that nebulous, beautiful blob of potential that you shaped into a story—they’re just commenting on what you put on the page. They can’t possibly know what ideas you started out with, or what your intentions were, and you shouldn’t try to explain any of that stuff.

If your readers can’t figure out what you’re getting at in a story, or what it was actually supposed to be “about,” that could indicate a huge problem—but it could also be a function of the fact that everybody is going to read a story differently, and you can’t control how people respond to it. Samuel Richardson kept rewriting his classic novel Clarissabecause people sympathized too much with the character of Mr. Lovelace, but he was never able to stop people having the “wrong” reactions to his work.

So as long as you recognize that people are purely responding to what’s on the page, and you can never entirely prevent them from having their own weird ideas about what it was about, you can correct for that and still get a sense of whether they were reading the story you thought you were writing. And also, whether it made sense to them at all.

Sometimes, there’s something tripping people up in your story, or a place where they just aren’t quite following you—and often, it’s because you didn’t set things up properly earlier on, or there’s a piece of the worldbuilding or character development missing. (There could be a whole other article on finding the trouble spots in your work, and maybe we’ll get to that another time.)

The main thing is, people’s specific criticisms of your work are symptoms—but they don’t usually tell you what the actual cause is.

There’s a quote from Neil Gaiman which is super helpful: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

To the extent that writing is a craft, just like making a chair or playing a musical instrument, the longer you do it the better at it you get. And hearing people tell you that your chair is slightly lopsided or you messed up that one arpeggio can be really painful, but there is intrinsic good in realizing that you still need to keep working at this and improving. Specific pointers to where you overused a particular word, or where one of your characters felt flat, are super useful—but so is just more incentive to keep working on your technique.

Which brings me to the thing about learning from harsh reviews that aren’t directed at you personally. A reviewer online is under no obligation to be helpful to the author (or even to other readers, although you kind of hope they will be.) If you can get something useful out of reading harsh reviews of your work online, then that’s your business, not theirs.

Edited to add: And because people are bringing it up on Twitter, I should also say here that you should never, ever respond to online reviews of your work, or try to argue with the reviewer. Just don’t. It never ends well.

At the same time, it’s totally possible, if your skin is thick enough. You just have to turn your filter way, way up—and try to listen without having an instant reaction. If a bunch of people are saying that you don’t know how to write a certain type of character, or that your stories tend to run out of steam in the third act (to pick two random examples), that’s invaluable to hear. Maybe you really do need to go and work hard on those weaknesses in your work, if they’re bugging a lot of people.

At the same time, when people review your work online, they’re not comparing your stuff to work by your peers, or to your other work. They’re comparing your story to every other story that’s ever been written, and judging it purely according to their personal tastes. They may simply hate the kind of work you’re trying to do, so that no matter what you do, you’ll never please them. They may just not be on your wavelength. Don’t get neurotic, or sabotage yourself thinking you have to try and please everybody on earth or change everything in response to one rant you read online. Seriously.

And yet... successful writers have to be a little bit megalomaniacal—but also a little bit masochistic. You have to learn to take lots of harsh feedback, ignore the stuff that seems unhelpful or off-base, and use whatever you can. Getting better at anything, especially a creative thing, requires a lot of misery along the way—but if you get used to the pain, you can use it to get better, and those harsh critics can wind up helping you more than anybody.

Nov 20, 2015

Thanks Raani82 (By KKP)

 Thank you Raani82 for your all comments and you are great writer.

By Jordan Phoenix Founder, Uncommon Sense

You can't force someone to admit they were wrong or accept their mistakes, but if they keep trying to drag you down, you can find a way to distance yourself from them and avoid having to deal with them. Remember that being a part of your life is a privilege, not a right, and anyone can lose it if they don't respect your boundaries.

Nov 22, 2015

What Makes a Bad Writer? (By KKP)

 By AJ Humpage

We’ve all been bad writers at some point.  Being a bad writer is all part of the ritual of becoming a good writer. Everyone starts out a bad writer and becomes a good writer over time. (Good writers will also know that good writing isn’t formed instantly – it takes years of practice).

But how can you tell a bad writer from a good one? How do you know if you are a bad writer?

The main difference with good writers and bad writers is that good writers are always learning, always developing and are always open to feedback. Good writers know their limitations and their skill levels, and they’re always striving to become better; the best they can be.

Bad writers, however, are a different beast altogether.

Bad writers have no real grasp of their limitations, they presume to know everything there is to know about writing, without the experience to back it up. But even if they have three self-published books on Amazon, it doesn’t make them an expert on fiction writing. It just means they have a long way to go, because being a good writer can take years, even decades to achieve.

Only bad writers assume they have a superior level of writing excellence. Good writers never assume it, theyearn it.

Also, bad writers don’t understand the concept of constantly editing and rewriting and the need to polish to (almost) perfection, something that’s required before it enters the public domain.  Most simply don’t have the patience for such things.

Good writers, on the other hand, will read through and edit their work several times to eliminate errors and plot flaws and they will have the patience to do so until the work is truly ready, until they have a quality piece of work.

Bad writers don’t need to go through all this, they’re already excellent.

This is turn leads to the arrogance factor. There is nothing more unbecoming in fiction writing that a writer who is arrogant and has an attitude to go with it. More often than not, those who are haughty and overconfident are simply not as good as they think. And more often than not, this notion is proven with what they actually write, simply because their ego has overshadowed any existing raw talent.

Good writers know that perfection is not attainable, but the next best thing is, so they always try to achieve this. At the same time they will acknowledge that no one is perfect. That’s why they are always learning, because writing is a constantly evolving process. They know that to be better writers, they have to learn and evolve. That’s how we all become not just good writers, but great writers.

A bad writer, however, will dismiss the need to learn. They already know all there is to know. They don’t realise that to be a better writer they have to learn.

Have you ever received negative feedback that made you get angry and defensive? The answer is that we all have.

What we write and how we write it won’t be liked by everyone. Good writers accept and understand this concept.  But bad writers don’t understand this at all. Negative feedback is met with even more negativity and sometimes these writers will become involved in online arguments with other writers or engage in emails with those who may have offered the negative feedback. It’s extremely unprofessional.

This leads to that other big negative for writers – the dreaded rejection. Good writers accept that they are not perfect and that rejections are a part of the writing process. They will also take on board the feedback and comments in a constructive way and they will examine where they can improve their work and develop their writing skill accordingly.

Bad writers won’t. They won’t see rejection as an opportunity to improve. They won’t see the positive in it. They will think it’s a personal attack on them and a rejection of their genius. They will become angry and defensive, even petulant, and that arrogance will just grow.

If you cannot cope with rejection or criticism of your writing, then unfortunately that makes you a bad writer.

Another thing is that bad writers don’t understand the concept of professionalism.

And that brings me to the subject of submitting work to agents and publishers. The good writers amongst us will pay vital attention to the guidelines of the publishing house or the agent’s requirements, because guidelines are there for a reason.

A bad writer will ignore these guidelines. The “nobody can tell me what I should and shouldn’t do” attitude won’t wash with potential publishers. If you can’t be bothered to follow instructions, then don’t bother being a writer.

Lastly, the new phenomenon of shameless self-promotion has become a nuisance. The pester power of self-published writers isn’t endearing, it’s annoying. And the “look at me and my fantastic novel” constant promotion on every available medium won’t win readers.

Good writers promote, but they also engage with potential readers, they ask questions, they answer questions, they have open discussions about their writing, they use the likes of Twitter or Facebook, Goodreads or writing forums to network and socialise and generate interest in a productive way.

What they don’t do is selfishly spam the hell out of everyone. And that’s precisely what a bad writer will do. Bad writers are not bothered about networking or socialising or engaging in discussions about their writing or indeed any constructive feedback. They just want the sales.

Ultimately, a bad writer is one that doesn’t listen and therefore never learns. So, are you one of them?

May 17, 2016





What do you feel writers can contribute to society? Jeanette Winterson author of ‘Oranges are not the only Fruit’ recently spoke about the writers role within society to ‘The Believer Magazine’. She wrote:‘That’s why everybody who has a chance to make even the smallest difference – whether you influence one person or many people, whether you change something in your neighbourhood or you change something at a bigger level…writing books isn’t seperate by the way. I do think the writer or the artist has to live in the world, fully participate in it. This isn’t ivory-tower stuff. It’s about being in the world that we’ve got, contributing to it and trying to change it.

When I was thinking about this question, I thought it was clear cut. I thought as long as I was writing original material, which was factually correct, where it needed to be, that I didn’t perpetuate stereotypes and my characters were believable, this was where my responsibilities ended. However, what Jeanette Winterson was talking about was the writers responsibilities politically and socially, I think she was reaching out to writers for us to consider the impact our work has. Does it increase the understanding of an issue, or reinforce stereotypes?

It was then I realised if we are writing about characters, real or imagined, social problems are everywhere. I hear some of you might say, yes that’s fine if you are writing in China or Afghanistan but if you are a Western writer there aren’t any real social issues needing to be addressed. I can think of racism, ****ism, gangs, drugs and abuse. Indeed, scratch under the surface and every social problem or issue is present, all over the world.

A precise definition of a social novel is:

‘A work of fiction in which a prevailing social problem such as gender, race or class prejudice are dramatized through its effect on the characters in the novel’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition 2012)

Early examples of a ‘social novel’ can be seen as early as the 19th Century such as Charles ****ens ‘Hard Times’ or Harriet Beecher Stowes anti-slavery novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

As we look back on such early attempts at social novels an accusation often repeated is how do these writers, who were white and often middle/upper class, know about these issues? How could they possibly feel what it is like to experience those problems?

I don’t think this is fair. At least these writers tried to make a difference. we can only write about the time we know about. The belief that unless you have lived through the injustice or know about it through a personal perspective, is one which means writers are put off from even attempting to do anything related to the subject.

However, time and time again, I come across great writers who have put a great deal of research into their writing and have written a ‘social novel’ for now.

Dave Eggers is just one example. His novel ‘Zeitoun’ Published by McSweeney’s in 2009 tells the story of Zeitoun Abdulrahman who got caught up in a nightmare of a situation following Hurricane Katrina.

His latest novel, ‘A Hologram for the King’ deals with the economonic crisis and recession. Published by Hamish Hamilton, Fbruary 2013.

Dave Eggers also contributes to society in another way, he founded ‘826 Valencia’ which uses writers who have spare time to help teach on a one to one basis students in the local community. There is an English equivalent in London ‘The Ministry of Stories’.

In an interview with The Guardian, Dave Eggers said:

But sitting in your garage writing or pretending to write…sometimes makes you feel a little useless. Sometimes you feel like getting out in the world and seeing if you can be useful in some more immediate or tangible way.’

This illustrates how writers can participate in society and contribute to society. Even if you can’t pledge your time tutoring, simply through your fiction you can make a difference.

Is this one of the purposes of fiction – that it can bridge the gaps between people who have different backgrounds and experiences? Is the end result, a novel which could help promote compassion, empathy and understanding amongst readers?

I believe a novel can shape events and allow a reader to grasp the issue or injustice. A fiction writer could shine a torch onto an issue rather than deflecting the light away.

May 19, 2016

What Is the Value of Connecting Reading and Writing? (By KKP)

By Tierney, Robert J.; Leys, Margie

The study of reading-writing connections involves appreciating how reading and writing work together as tools for information storage and retrieval, discovery and logical thought, communication, and self-indulgence. There are numerous benefits that can be accrued from connecting reading and writing. Thus far, for example, the research data have substantiated that (1) depending upon the measures employed to assess overall reading and writing achievement and attitude, the general correlation between reading and writing is moderate and fluctuates by age, instructional history, and other factors; (2) selected reading experiences definitely contributed to writing performance, just as selected writing experiences contribute to reading performance; (3) writers acquire certain values and behaviors from reading, while readers acquire certain values and behaviors from writing; and (4) successful writers integrate reading into their writing experience, and successful readers integrate writing into their reading experience. 

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