What Makes a Great Writer- an Editorial Perspective
Question: Who doesn’t necessarily have a pen anymore, but isn’t afraid to hoard notebooks & procrastinate?
Answer: That’s right! A writer.
Goodness me! Is this world full of writers! Truth be told, despite the crowd, the good ones always make it to the top. Now, the word ‘writer’ denotes a broad range of professions including but not limited to ‘content writer’, ‘copywriter’, ‘playwright’, ‘screenplay writer’, ‘scriptwriter’, ‘ghostwriter’, ‘technical writer’ and ‘book writer/novelist’.
Seems a bit confusing? Worry you not! Today, I’m here to tell you how to bag that ‘editorial writer’ gig.
It’s all about being good enough.
Typically, an editorial writer is experienced. Be it as a technical writer, editor, or even as a successful specialist in different fields, one can acquire enough experience to become an editorial writer.
There’s no telling about how to land editorial writing jobs in the UK, but what you can do is equip yourself with the right tools to be the best at it.
1- Grammatically sound
Grammar is the base of all solutions in the world of writing. Any form of communication is imperfect without grammar. Now, certain forms of communication may not require a perfect usage of grammar, but it certainly helps to have a writer in the team who makes the editor’s job a whole lot easier. Typically, a writer in this position must have flawless grammar.
Truth be told, most writer jobs or content writer jobs have this in their job description, but grammar means much more to an editorial writer than it does to a modern-day “content writer”.
There is no measure of creativity. Over time I have learnt that the key to finding out how creative a person is, is by seeing how they utilise their free time. The moment a person takes his/her phone out for longer than a couple of minutes while waiting for their interview, that must be it. Make a writer wait in a mini library before an interview.
P.S. This is one of the biggest differentiating factors between a good writer and a run-of-the-mill content writer.
That being said, it is easy to feign a creative inclination so here are some hints that a recruiter must take to fish out the ones who are not meant to be editorial writers:
- He/she’s careful about dressing a certain way
- He/she unnecessarily wears protective glasses
- False pride
- Identifies more with being a content/freelance writer than just “writer”
3- Thoughtful & Opinionated
Being thoughtful as a writer is perhaps the best way to engage. It is what distinguishes content marketing from other forms. It takes immense effort to be thoughtful as a writer, but the results can be equally rewarding, if not more.
Content travels fast in this advanced media age. It is therefore important to know ‘what’ works ‘where’. Soccer references may not be as popular in the US as they are in Europe. A writer must be perceptive enough to empathise and create impactful content.
Expression comes from experience. Reading is a good way to experience things that one wouldn’t otherwise. A well-read writer is more likely to be more lucid & expressive with his/her words than the ones who aren’t. Imagine a technical writer who doesn’t read to verify his knowledge- a key ingredient of a catastrophic article.
Writers draw inspiration from various sources. It can be from the works of another writer, from life experiences or even their own thoughts. It is the length through which they are willing to go in order to materialise their inspiration that defines them as a writer.
7- Defined Writing Style
This is not to say that a writer should not be adaptive. A defined writing style is a writer’s own guide to expression. However, a good writer will always be flexible in a manner that his/her style allows him/her to cater to different readerships & fields.
8- Avoids Jargons
As a writer, sometimes it is difficult to avoid uncommon words in order to be descriptive. However, jargons make for a difficult read. The key to solving this conundrum is knowing your audience. Most audiences bounce at the sight of heavy words, as it takes time and effort to understand them. For such readership, it is important to be a simple and lucid read.
9- Wants to Write
There is no substitute for a will. It is the root of hard work/effort, perspective, creativity & evolution/improvement. Combine this will to write with the ability to really represent ideas and you have all the makings of revolutionary penmanship. The concept of ghostwriting first came about when ideators & opinionators were afraid of the stir/revolution that their words might cause.
Did you know that one of the oldest recorded ghostwritten work is The Bible? Yeah, think about it- The Old Testament comes from an oral tradition that was at some point written by an anonymous person- a.k.a. ghostwriter.
Like I said earlier, there is no dearth of work for writers in the UK. But, to land a good gig, there must be some expertise and a clear imbibement of the abovementioned functions in your work.
Typically all writer job descriptions will have at least six of the nine qualities as a “requirement”. Doesn’t matter how you want to make it- be it as a freelance writer, ghostwriter, technical writer, editorial writer, copywriter or even a regular content writer- mastering the above will sure go a long way in helping you become successful. At this point, I’d like to tell you that no matter what most marketing professionals say, the key to successful copywriting is still the same as it used to be a hundred years ago.
We will soon be here with some great copywriting examples and what makes them so good that they’re absolutely timeless. It’s a common tendency among managerial positions to assume that just because there are three words in a copy, it took about three seconds to write it. Absolutely detest the ideology that writing/copywriting can be done by anyone.
Meanwhile, how about a quick glance at how to deal with your writer's block? You'll thank us later.