What Makes a Good Writer?


I am thinking of offering my services to freelance writer websites in order to earn more money. A quick sweep of suitable employers was exciting. I particularly liked the look of a website called Prospect Solution, because in addition to requesting my ‘resume’  (which instantly conjures a bowl of clear soup with a CV floating in it) they asked the following question.

What makes a good writer? Answer in 150 words. 

OK. I’ll have a go. How hard can it be to summarise the complexities, the delicate tracery of words on paper, the sweat and the tea breaks and the disgusting fluffy bits in the keyboard that one can only ever remove with an unfolded paperclip? Firstly, please note the salient advice to the left of this paragraph. Then we shall proceed.


On no account let this author anywhere near your ocular nerve

A good writer catches your eye, preferably without damaging it. If they can then replace it in the socket with a minimum level of fuss, so much the better. Sadly, most writers don’t find themselves in many ophthalmological emergencies, except when spelling ‘ophthalmological’. They must be sure of their facts and never skimp on their research. Imagine, for example, that ophthalmology had nothing at all to do with eye surgery. Then the writer in question would have dug herself an enormous hole and impressed no one, least of all the head gardener. A good writer must inform (how much did you know about ophthalmology before reading this?); amuse (riffing on the oddities of the English language is always good); possibly enrage (gardeners nationwide); cope with long and complex sentences recklessly littered with parentheses and semi-colons yet not lose their way (yup); and always engage the reader. How am I doing?

Well, THIS is embarrassing

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