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Do You Have the Characteristics of an Article Writer?

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In order to answer the question I've just asked in the title, I decided to interview myself. (Now there's a stretch). After all, I've spent a lot of time reading the instructions of the people who profess to make a lot of money writing and I've spent a lot of money on the written word about writing the word so if I put it all together I should be an expert. Right?

So I figured, I'll talk to an expert, someone who has spent a lot of time and money buying the writing of people like you and me. Me

To get my opinion, I made a list of characteristics - things that I feel are important in a writer ? and gave myself the task of rating them from 1 (most important) to 7 (least important). Before we go further, I'd like to ask you to perform the same exercise. Just number the following characteristics, the definition will have to your own interpretation, based on your life experiences. Just go ahead and put your number in the space to the right of each characteristic.

Love of writing


Quality of writing




Writing Style

Now to the business at hand.

Let's take the list in order and see where it takes us, shall we?

"Love of writing"- let's face it writing is not like being a great artist; even the mediocre among us can learn to write and might even be interesting.

In fact, that's where talent may be detrimental, if you stop to think about it. Those with writing gifts figure that their ability should some how make writing easy for them ? and when they find out, this is not fiction writing, its some plodding writing with much research, rewriting and trying to decide what the facts are. Which is all part of writing a good article, they become disillusioned. Suddenly they realize that something they enjoy as play is really going to be work.

You can be a writer without talent. But without the desire, every word you write will come hard and leaden. You won't last or turn out articles that will be read.

The desire to write, the "Love of Writing", I felt was number 4. There are those that think I have forgotten something and of course when you think about it they maybe right, does anyone care if you like what you are doing? Fact is a lot of people have jobs they don't care for but most manage to do a reasonable job despite not "loving it".

"Professionalism" ? I've defined "professionalism" as "knowing what you are writing is going to be one hell of a good read". It means that you have done your research, presented them in a professional manner and are ready to stand behind your article. You have presented an article that is of the proper length and of a quality that is above reproach. I rated Professionalism number 1. What did you think?

"Quality of Writing" ? Quality of writing is what your readers will see of you. Recognizing this, you should realize that if your writings were good your readers would know it. That is what will bring them back for more. If your article doesn't impress your reader, don't spend time wondering what's wrong with the reader. Ninety nine times out of one hundred it is your writing, and only by facing that will get you to the point where people will buy into your point of view. I rated Quality of writing number 2.

"Self-assuredness" ? When we come right down to it, self-assuredness ? as well as the other qualities we discuss, are subject to interpretation of the reader. No one can tell if you're self-assured simply by reading your work, we can however determine that you seem to be. Of course there is no question that self-assured people inspire confidence, in their readers. Perception is paramount and if your reader sees you as someone that will do the right thing, you've got the job. Of course we all can be fooled but remember "Quality of Writing" will out. I rated "Self-Assuredness" number 7.

"Self motivation" ? Now this is a biggie, because if you have ever set down to write there are many things that will get in the way, getting a cup of coffee, sharpening your pencil, etc. These are all of the things that get in the way of your "motivation". Of course we are talking about enthusiasm mixed with the desire to achieve. Self-motivation is the one key characteristic that can make or break you as a writer. You may think that this kind of enthusiasm is merely naivet? in disguise, but I wouldn't mind having some more of it myself. I rated "Self-motivation" number 6 but maybe it should have been higher.

"Talent" ? In my opinion talent isn't something you achieve, you can't get it through training or study or even osmosis. You get it naturally ? you are born with it. So by default you don't need Talent to become a good article writer because a person with average verbal skills can be trained to write acceptable articles.

Maybe you find that statement disturbing, I know I certainly do but it is true, you can learn to be a good writer; of course if you lack talent you must work much harder and differently. I rated "Talent" number 5.

"Writing Style" ? When writers talk about "Style" its apparent that they view it as something as unique as a finger print, a way of writing that will put their own inimitable stamp on their work. That's not it, actually. Style is simply how you string your words together. It doesn't have to be unique: infact, when it is, it can get in the way: unique gets tiresome.

I really don't think style is anything you can intentionally develop ? not anymore than you can wish wrinkles on yourself. Nor is it important that your work be encompassed by any such personalizing description. What is important that your writing is a form and logic and propels your reader along and makes the reading just about irresistible. When it reaches the point that the paper you have just typed on tells you what's needed instead of the other way around, you have developed style. I rated "Style" number 3.

In conclusion, to answer the question before us, we must analysis the facts we have gathered. Since I interviewed myself for this piece, these conclusions will have to be mine and I am sure you will come up with your own conclusions. I hope we have given you something to think about.

I have concluded that you must have professionalism at least as defined by Webster's Dictionary. (Remembering we are not talking fiction.) If you don't know what you are talking about your reader will know. If that is the case why write it down. I further concluded that you must develop a quality and style to your writing which gives you the confidence to continue. You must love to write or at least feel some joy in putting words on paper or you won't succeed. Then of course it's nice if you have talent and self-motivation, but I don't feel that the lack of these will hinder you from success if you really want to write.

William McNutt
Copy Righted 2005 All rights reserved.

This article may be freely distributed and reprinted as long as the author's information and web link are included at the bottom of the article.

About the Author

Bill McNutt is a freelance writer and web designer. Having retired as an Aerospace Engineer after 30 years, he became fascinated with web site design, retirement got boring. He now writes articles about his website contents and adds to his websites. Truck Accessories

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