How do you find a great writer? What separates a great writer from the many other halfway-decent writers out there who have very little passion for their work?

Good writers follows all of the popular advice, believing that more always equals better. Therefore, Mr. or Ms. Good Writer posts everyday on his or her blog, social media and all over the Internet without hardly ever reviewing their work. Their mantra is “Just keep writing,” the same way someone throws hundreds of darts at a board, knowing eventually one of them will hit one day. Good Writer accepts any price, even when it’s barely enough to pay for one meal, because Good is always desperate for work. Good is obsessed about getting a big public reputation and changes their opinions regularly to suit the latest trends, so Good doesn’t actually have a spine or a definable voice — Ironically, these points are the very things Good needs most to get long-term followers. When deciding when to finish a project, Good says, “That’s enough words to meet the deadline, so I’ll stop there.” First drafts usually become published without a second thought, or maybe just a quick Word spellcheck, which will miss several glaring typos that change the whole meaning of what Good was trying to say. Good doesn’t like to read too much, and Good doesn’t think that their work needs to change much anyway.

Mr. or Ms. Great Writer will write everyday too … but doesn’t publish anything unless they’ve spent real time on it – and almost love it. Great is never completely satisfied, always pushing to write better. Great always thinks about what they’re saying before posting anywhere because Great knows there are many repercussions for what you post publicly that can’t always be undone. Great values quality over quantity because Great knows the worth of stellar work. Great won’t join a list on freelance websites that drive down the price of hiring writers. Great is in demand already and knows that no really great writers advertise that way. Great doesn’t obsess about proving his or her value to anyone because Great only strives to satisfy the worst critic: Great’s own drive for perfection. Great says, “I’ve written enough, but does it really fulfill the needs of my client, and is it really more interesting than other published articles on this subject?” Therefore, Great rewrites several times. Great reads and studies the work of other great writers often and gets feedback from them.

Great is the one who really craves giving you something solid and worthwhile because they shun mediocrity at all costs — Life is too short to be average. Good just wants to get it done ASAP no matter what it looks like — and maybe only one person remembers them.

In essence, a great writer is one who knows the difference between average writers and great ones. An average writer doesn’t care about such differences.

Here are some examples of my personal favorite greatest writers of all time:

Shakespeare for his comedy: “The Taming of the Shrew.”

He was so unruly that:
“his contemporary critic, Robert Greene, described him in a 1592 pamphlet as an ‘upstart Crow.’”
His epic life still remains a mysterious blend of legend and rumors.

Jane Austen for “Pride and Prejudice”

She was so headstrong and determined to set her own course in life that she formally accepted only one marriage proposal for the sake of her family – only to turn it down the next day and continued making some money through writing at a time when women writers were largely ignored.

Oscar Wilde for “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”

Even Philip Bounds from Clogic says about Oscar that:

“His entire way of life was a sort of technicolour exercise in the politics of resistance.”

My favorite Oscar Wilde quotes include the following:

  • ““A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.”
  • “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
  • “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
  • “They are always asking a writer why he does not write like somebody else, or a painter why he does not paint like somebody else, quite oblivious of the fact that if either of them did anything of the kind he would cease to be an artist.”

Which kind of writer and editor are you looking for?

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