Of course it depends what kind of writing we are talking about. Are we talking about our favourite novelists? Or are we talking about an insightful article that caught your attention and made salient points? Perhaps you saw an ad that impressed you with some clever marketing. Different writers know their niches and write to their strengths with a clear understanding of their target market.
We could say that the greatest writers are those who turn their hand to different genres regardless of their own strengths or weaknesses. How we marvel at those who dash from one type of novel to another, always renewing, continually absorbing and using conventions for a new genre. They seem to have a lust for literary knowledge. They want to understand the mechanics of writing and challenge themselves. We admire them for the adventurous spirit and cheer their fearlessness.
On the other hand you might say that the authors most deserving of our praise are those who work at their chosen genre year after year but continually find ways of surprising their readers. He or she knows their genre inside out and has worked their entire career to polish their delivery and work at those conventions and writing tricks that will bring their readers the greatest satisfaction. Perhaps to some the most important thing is that a writer delivers what they are expecting, a familiar and comfortable fit?
We could be talking about writers in other fields. We could be talking about those who write articles, blogs, sales copy, web content. What do writers of material such as this have in common with authors? They understand what is required of them.
A good writer will communicate their message in a way that engages the reader and satisfies the conventions of the genre or medium. More confident artists of all disciplines will break the conventions of a genre before putting them back together in a way we had not anticipated. However freelancers hired to carry out a specific task to certain criteria will do their best work by knowing what is required of them and listening to input and feedback.
As a freelancer writer hired for different assignments for different mediums and I know I need to listen to and understand my clients in order to deliver what they actually need and want. In that way I need to be versatile and be able to write in many different voices, tones and for different channels. As a writer of fiction I like to hop from one genre to another (sometimes within the same novel).
As for what makes a good writer… Perhaps you prefer writers who enjoy their niche and stick to what they know best. Alternatively you may enjoy writers who continue to evolve and challenge themselves as well as their readers. No matter your preference what is common to both is attention to detail.
I think it takes a writer with greater attention to detail and unwavering focus to navigate the myriad writing options available to satisfy audiences and clients alike.
Confidence in his or her own abilities will show a strong grasp of the nuts and bolts of the genre or medium.
Desire to learn is essential for a writer. If it is a freelancer you are looking to hire to write for a niche with which they are not familiar you need to make sure he or she has the desire for understanding.
Learning about a topic, the mechanics of a genre or the hallmarks of a medium is necessary for any writer. If it is an unfamiliar topic the writer will need to do a little research and learn about the topic before they can write about it convincingly.
If you’re looking for a new freelancer for a long and productive working relationship, don’t be too hasty. You want value but you also want quality and someone who will write convincingly for you.
What do you think? Do you agree or is there anything you want to add? Leave me a comment.
I'm a freelance writer and all-round creative professional. I'm always working on one project or another (usually several at once!)