One word: connecting
“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth,” (Paula Danziger).
Good writing can be seen in many forms, through numerous expressions. One might argue truly great writing is like that of Fitzgerald’s work—evoking emotions of hope, while simultaneously making you wish you lived in the worlds of those like of Anthony Patch or Jay Gatsby, or instilling faith in the American Dream itself.
Another might argue that good writing is a story that tells the truth. Something like that of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (assuming it was all honest, of course) that attempts to expose the brutal and honest truth, no matter the cost. While those works are indeed, good writing, those are not what will establish acclaimed work.
The true test of good writing can be understood with one word: connecting. A writer must be able to make connections with their surroundings, their work, their audience, and themselves.
“Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement,” says Cory Doctorow.
A writer must be able to be conscious in his environment, must be able to perceive that around him and channel it into his work. “As a writer, you should not judge. You should understand,” Ernest Hemingway spoke. A writer needs to be able to view the world and all its complexity, understand it, and write about it. Besides, what better way to know the world than to write about it?
In terms of connecting with his work, any writer or author should allow themselves to submit to the realm of their own imagination, to their own hidden world of desires they wish to reveal in their writing. The individual must be willing to spend hours discovering characters that lie within them, and must get to know them. Just as Michelangelo believed his creations lie within the marble he chipped at the surface of, a writer’s characters live in the minds of the writer, anxiously waiting for their time of unveiling.
The reader of a piece plays a role of key significance. “It’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he read, but something that happened to himself. That’s the true test of writing,” Ernest Hemingway says in yet another quotation that solidifies his title of one of the greatest authors of time.
A writer can fall in love with their characters, their stories, but ultimately they hold a responsibility. As soon as a reader picks up a novel, that author has an obligation to not only tell a story, but introduce the characters in their raw vulnerability, for all they are and for what the entire story is, and can become.
Of all the ways of connecting, a writer connecting with themselves is the most vital by a large margin. “I’ve always wondered who I am when I write, because once I’m doing it, I’m not in the room with myself,” Stephen king once confessed.
While in the act of writing, a writer often gains an emotion unparalleled to any other. Call it writer’s high, or a rush of dopamine, but no matter the title, the individual is no longer solely an individual, but is deserving of the title “writer”. To take on a separate personality that writers do when they write, and to feel as though they are truly in their element, is a privilege that not all receive. When given the gift though, a writer knows they belong.
When a writer is able to connect with their surroundings, their work, audience, and themselves—they hold the capability to create anything in their sight. In some ways, writers are the most fortunate of all. To be able to have the gift of self-expression, the capability to dream and then dream bigger, all while being able to truly understand the world around them—leads to a person who can produce quality content. After all, with all those gifts, how can a good writer not achieve good writing?