What is good writing?

What a loaded question – what is good writing? The follow up question to any answer can very easily be, “Why does that make it good writing?” And around and around the conversation can go.
Deciding what makes good writing is a very personal judgement call. Good writing to me is writing that I enjoyed reading. It can be the readings I’m embarrassed to admit that I read to articles in journals I have no business reading. But if I enjoyed it, it is good to me.
Enjoyment can take many forms. Wasted time that doesn’t feel wasted because I was reading. A work that challenges my beliefs or preconceived notions. Learning something new. Falling in love (or hate) with a character or author. It’s spending time with the written word and feeling as if I have accomplished something. Even if it is “only” reading.
So how does one become a good writer? I agree with Anne Lamott. Good writing comes from, “shitty first drafts,” and “trusting the process.” That process is probably different for everyone. But ultimately every piece of writing started somewhere.¬† Writing will never be good unless it is written. So that means starting, but also remembering to leave enough time to spend with the words to really work with them and make it – the poem, story, article, review, whatever it is – something that the author can be proud to put their name on and say, “I wrote that.”



5 thoughts on “What is good writing?

  1. Kali, I am the same way. I really enjoy reading things that I am slightly embarrassed to read but I really enjoy them.I feel like you have to be willing to read what you have written and get excited about it to understand how your readers feel. I think you put that into words very well.


  2. I am the same way! I love different stories that bring thrill and have people in them that I am totally not. I love the characters that are scandals and rebel against all even though I am not that person at all in real life! Great post!


  3. I am with you that writing is very subjective to what good writing is. I like the bad characters most of the time. I like the scandals and the bad boys in my readings who I definitely do not like socially. Great post!


  4. Kali, awesome post! I agree that deciding what makes writing good is a personal judgement call. Everyone has their own opinion to what makes writing good just like everyone has their own favorite book. Everyone has a favorite piece of writing for their own reasons!


  5. Is it always personal? How come we have “great works” that folks agree on? How do we decide who wins Pulitzer, etc.? I know what you’re saying, but I think it’s too easy.


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