Look, I’ve been a writer for a while now. I have also been reading all this time. Books, novels, newspapers, magazines, articles, and just about anything I could lay hands upon(includes occasional wrapped paper cutting over something).
Am I a remarkable writer? No.
Can I become one? Yes.
Most importantly, can you be a remarkable writer?
The answer is astounding and a full scream yes.
I say it with experience and reading a truckload of everything that passes by me. Over two years of writing and more than two decades of reading, pretty sure of what separates a remarkable writer from the rest. Yes, you have to have some basics and understanding, but other than that, it all boils down to factors that you and I control.
Call them hacks or simple practices, but they are the difference to producing quality content day and day on.
I am restricting myself to the quality rather than the bucks. Though, I doubt the story of the starving artist in these times. If you’ve got the skill, everything else follows.
Skill, funny how the word gets thrown around. The thing with skill is that it is only a starting point. You’ll find many skilled writers or one-time wonders, but to become a remarkable writer, you do take the bullet and play the long haul.
A remarkable writer is an aggregate of little things done right over a period.
He who achieved glory kept at it a little longer than everybody else.
They write every-day
Believe it or not, this happens. It is not about delivering a masterpiece but little pieces every day. You can write an absolute peach of a story, but everything around that is courtesy of writing discipline. It simply means that we all have stories to tell and write, and it may be better than Stephen King or Jeffrey Archer. But the defining factor is how you stitch it and make it readable and organized. Remarkable writers are about the storytelling process. They can write about a TV remote and hook you while you can write about life on Mars and still struggle.
The art of storytelling differentiates the best from the rest. It seems obvious, but you only become remarkable with actual work. They become who they are by daily slog and pushing the envelope further.
Writing is about observing, understanding, and expressing. You only get good by a consistent effort over a period. Not necessarily spectacular, but it has to be consistent. The more you write, the better it gets. If you thought it only helps you get better in writing, here’s a study on how writing boosts your thinking and makes you feel good.
Some days the words flow like bottled-up emotions, while other days, they drip like a faulty tap. Either way, sit yourself to write every day.
They can write within their heads
Yes, they can. If you believe that writing is only about sitting and staring at some paper while playing with your pen or looking numbingly at your screen for some idea, then you are wrong. It is an ongoing process. A remarkable writer observes and frames ideas in the head. The outline and story flow are in order while they stroll, sip a tea, or try to sleep.
Keeping a notebook and journals is good and nothing against them, but what about the odd times when some idea strikes. A remarkable writer is constantly churning and joining ends for the things observed or watched, resulting in a breakthrough more often.
At times, when it is too lazy or comfortable to get up and grab something to write, it is better to plot the story in your head.
Here is my guess on what these remarkable writers do.
- Find a headline and title with sheer imagination.
- Tweaking and re-tweaking the title until the right one comes off.
- Zero in on the start to hook the readers. It can come from personal experience or a real-life example of someone’s story. The beginning is crucial to move ahead.
- Keep at it to cement the exact start they imagine.
- Write down when they get the chance.
- Take it forward from there.
Writing is an art, and we improve gradually, but trusting one’s intuition is far more crucial to success.
They are great observers
How do you bring stories to life? You observe well. They don’t wait till the inspiration strikes. They witness life tell stories that you and I miss. While watching two people talk, they analyze the conversation and take mental notes. While watching Netflix(if they do), they create their story from the characters through observation and finding some angle.
The amazing thing is- “it just happens like the way we breathe.”
They watch Queens Gambit and get a story idea of some match that happened in the 1930s. While watching Breaking Bad, they find a story corroborating facts about the use of the first methamphetamine.
“It’s like observing what you’re observing.”
Why take my word on this when great writers use their art of using daily life situations into impressionable words. I find observation as one of the most defining factors when it comes to storytelling.
They respect the flow and go with it
We often find ourselves plush with ideas and ready to let it all rain on the paper or by punching the damn keys. Our inherent trained mind dictates, and we keep at it. Alas, we know the first draft won’t be great, and neither should we care, but we edit as we write to get the grammar, punctuations, and everything else. We shall call them writing aesthetics and our affair with them that hovers at borderline perfection.
Great writers know and understand this. They let the flow happen and go with it. They know the repercussions of editing on the go. To begin is to win, and while we tend to get things right, it never helps with the natural flow.
Remarkable writers trust their gut and understand that they can go back to the draft for edits and rewrites. Write like there is no tomorrow, and then edit later is what they practice. Writing flow is an exceptional state that wreaks havoc on paper. It gives you a chain of thoughts, connecting dots and making sense of it all.
They read, read, and then some more
Another characteristic of a remarkable writer is that they read a lot. To become a great writer, you ought to be a keen reader too. Professional writers are all intense readers.
Reading is simply feeding the brain with ideas, plots, and knowledge in general. But, it also provides them with an insight into the minds of other great writers. They read everything from articles, social media posts, and magazines. Most importantly, they read well-written stories by reputed writers from different genres.
- It gives writers the sense and idea of how to do it.
- It improves vocabulary. While you are not supposed to be quoting biblical verses or some top shot words always, it surely helps to leave a good impression on readers,
- Reading helps with research and quoting a great line you read somewhere.
- Reading various genres ignites creativity.
The article is my humble take on what separates a remarkable writer from the rest. While there may be various other reasons ( sure there are), these are some reasons that I could garner over a period. After all, I am a part of the rest trying to break into the major league. You could also sense that while the goal itself looks daunting, the process isn’t. It is a culmination of simple daily habits done for a considerable period.