Friday, March 15, 2019

The 6 Unique Traits of All Remarkable Writers by Warren Bull

The 6 Unique Traits of All Remarkable Writers

Abstracted from, Demian Farnworth Copyblogger by Warren Bull

Image from acclaimimage (dot) com

1. Remarkable writers have the ability to size up content
A remarkable writer can:
·       Scan a sales letter and immediately identify specific problems and then articulate the solution to those problems.
·       Read a story and pinpoint where the story fails — and why.
·       Review a speech and offer advice on how to make a lecture open and close with a bang.
Other professions do the same thing in their fields; writers do it the mechanics of the language. They catch misused words and grammatical errors but also develop an instinct for the words that make magnetic copy.

2. Remarkable writers are able to connect the dots
A remarkable writer is a visionary of sorts. She might look like she is reading,  but she is scanning her mental landscape, spotting potential material and logging these ideas away. She’s doing this subconsciously, but it’s just a matter of time before something clicks, a web of associations light up — and she sees something she’s never seen before:
·       How to bring that character to life.
·       How to close that blog post.
·       How to tap into emotion.
In essence, she’s a problem solver in sentences and paragraphs. She builds blocks of language.

3. Remarkable writers can express ideas clearly
This is how novelist and short story writer Mary Gaitskill expressed it:
Writing is in some way being able to sit down the next day and go through everything you wanted to say, finding the right words, giving shape to the images, and linking them to feelings and thoughts. It isn’t exactly like a social conversation because you aren’t giving information in the usual sense of the word or flirting or persuading anyone of anything or proving a point; it’s more that you are revealing something whole in the form of a character, a city, a moment, an image seen in a flash out of a character’s eyes.

4. Remarkable writers can write in their head
I keep a notebook. A journal of sorts. I try to record ideas as they come. But there are times when I can’t.
Here’s what I do.
1.   I write your headline in my mind
2.   Work that headline twenty different ways until I settle on something useable.
3.   When the chance comes, I write it down.
4.   Move on to the first paragraph. And so on.

Verilyn Klinkenborg, member of the New York Times Editorial Board agrees.
Before you learn to write well, to trust yourself as a writer, you will have to learn to be patient in the presence of your own thoughts.

5. Remarkable writers read with a deep purpose

Remarkable writers absorb books. For long stretches of time. Clueless to the rest of the world.

6. Remarkable writers swing the snow shovel

Shoveling snow is my metaphor for rewriting.

American novelist, critic and essayist Walter Kirn expressed it this way:
At the beginning of a novel, a writer needs confidence, but after that what’s required is persistence. These traits sound similar. They aren’t. Confidence is what politicians, seducers, and currency speculators have, but persistence is a quality found in termites. It’s the blind drive to keep on working that persists after confidence breaks down.
That ability to re-work a piece of copy ad nauseum is utterly unique to a writer. No other profession can claim that ability. And that, my friend, is what separates a remarkable writer from everyone else.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

One of my first jobs out of college was writing residential real estate ad copy. How many ways to describe a 2br/1ba post-war bungalow? I knew them all. One of my memorable headlines: A House Built for the Sunshine Kids. Lots of excited phone calls about the ad. And yes, the house sold promptly.

Warren Bull said...

Great example, Margaret.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting, Warren. I think I follow a lot of the things you mentioned in this blog.