Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Makes a Good Writer?

Ha, if you thought I would know the answer, you are mistaken. I have no idea what makes a good writer. I know what I consider to be good writers and bad writers but my opinion is subjective just like every literary critic or normal person. If you think about how novels/stories/poems change in the hundreds of years since we put words down on paper or parchment then what really makes a good writer?

I suppose endurance through the ages like  Shakespeare, Homer and the likes that we read in school.  Hemingway is another popular fellow. And there are other writers that won awards and have some kind of prestige but is that really enough?  I am thinking about Harper Lee (don't worry I really like To Kill a Mockingbird), Thoreau, Hawthrone, John Fowles, Emily Dickinson, and Jack London which is all people I have been studying about some lately each has their own style and their own thing and I wonder if some of these people tried to publish today would they be received as literary geniuses by today's critics who also seem to make the rules about good writing?

Doesn't it seem like there are so many rules to writing, aside from the basic grammar rules? I don't know even know who comes up with these rules. And it is my guess, that following the rules makes or breaks you, as a writer. I am trying to figure out who "they" are. You know the folks that say something is good or bad and what is good writing or what is bad writing. I think good writing at the very least is readable and bad writing is the garbage you see on Facebook posted from people who either don't know how to use spell check or just want to sound like idiots. <Rambling injection here> Honestly, I think people should spend a whole thirty seconds using their damn smart phones to spell right at the very least. Hey I know I am not perfect when it comes to Facebook posts, but I would like to think most people can understand what the hell I am writing.<end>.

I would also like to think good writing as in creative writing, would encompass originality and imagination. Doesn't it seem like critics and reviewers head right for structure and inner meanings of the written and forget about the imagination behind the work. Imagination is often overlooked in this day and age.  Does it matter, if your writing doesn't follow a formula but it is unique and interesting? I would rather read an imaginative book then one that is structurally sound.

I think about my own path as a writer and regardless if I think I am a good writer (which by the way on certain days I do think I am a good writer and other days I just want to quit. Of course, I am not alone in this thought) and I think about all the writers before me and the ones that are writing right now and instead of wondering where I fall in the spectrum, I find myself thinking about why I am a writer.

I have always been a writer, as always as someone can be. There is something I love about  writing- making poems, making new worlds. And the rules of writing can kiss my ass. I didn't start writing because I want to be great (that would be nice, I think we can relate to that) but I started to write because there is something inside that was driving me to write. Even now, as I am writing this I know I am writing this just because I want to write something. And that is something I lost over the years. I am writer because I am, not to be famous or make a lot of money,  just because I am one of the special people who get to be a writer.

Till next time...

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