This is a guest post by Tess Pajaron. With a background in business administration and management, Tess currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.
7 Essential Skills You Need to Become a Writer
Being a writer is so much more than the ability to envision and draft out a story. So many people make the mistake of believing that it’s easy work. In reality, writers work just as hard as people with other hobbies or professions. Anyone can write something, but it takes a lot to be a great writer. If you need a little inspiration or you ever feel stuck, consider building on these skills.
There isn’t much of a point to telling a story that’s already been told a thousand times before. You may have your own spin on it, but seasoned readers will recognize a common framework in a heartbeat. You have to be able to shake things up a bit. Break that mold, even if it takes your stories into a completely different universe.
You’re going to encounter “writer’s block”. There will be times where it’s hard to work on your story, and this can be frustrating when you set goals for yourself. You need to be able to walk away and do something else for a while so you can come back with a clear head and a fresh perspective. You want your writing to be good, even if it takes you years to write one piece.
3. The Willingness to Learn
Writers frequently use exercises to help them improve their abilities. The way you’re approaching the art of writing may not be the most effective or efficient way to get things done. You need to explore as many techniques as possible. While every writer is different, exploring as many methods and approaches as you can will help you become a better writer.
4. Strong Observation Skills
You can’t write deep characters and genuine dialogue unless you have a deep understanding of how different personalities work. You need to allow yourself to be inspired by the people you know. How dynamic are your friends? Do they have beliefs that conflict with their actions? This is part of what it means to become a complex human being. You should observe and analyze as many people as possible. It will help you create a person who pops off the page.
5. The Ability to Be Brave
Writers face a lot of rejection and a lot of harsh criticism – no matter how great they are. When Robert Pirsig wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he was savagely torn apart. He was rejected over a hundred times before he got published. And now, that same novel is regarded as one of the most important pieces of philosophical fiction to ever be penned. Wear some thick skin. Being criticized or rejected doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. It just means you’ll have to work harder.
6. Being Able to Surprise Yourself
Of course you can predict what will happen next – you’re the mastermind behind it all. The only problem with being able to predict too much is that it will lack the emotion and depth that the readers need to feel that level of surprise. You have to be able to throw yourself a curveball once in a while. A plot twist you didn’t expect or a point you didn’t know you would make will inject life into your writing.
7. Excellent Time Management
No one can afford to quit their day job to become a full-time writer, which can pose quite a few challenges. Being a writer takes up a lot of time. You’re probably going to have to juggle a full-time career, a full-time writing passion, and all of your household responsibilities. Writers are very busy people. It may feel overwhelming at times, but if you’re passionate enough, you’ll find a way to overcome.
Writing is truly rich, complex, and rewarding, and there’s a lot more to it than most people are led to believe. That is why writers need to be well-rounded and everything you do to better yourself will only improve your writing.
For some ideas on what it takes to be a great team-leader, check out this post on Team-Management Skills.