8 Qualities of a Successful Professional Writer

Woman sitting at desk in office next to window

When you picture a writer, the typical aesthetics can come to mind: handwriting in notebooks, drinking coffee all morning, spending hours on a Word document in a coffee shop, reading, buying too many books, etc. While there is some truth to those characteristics, there are other qualities of a writer; qualities that lead them to success in their future endeavors. In such a competitive field, it can be important to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Here are the top qualities a successful professional writer exhibits.

1. A Passion for Writing

You can’t write well if you don’t like doing it in the first place. Having a love for the written word is key to producing good content and striving towards success. You want to have a job you love going to every day as well and your work will reflect how passionate you are about it.

2. Knowledge of Grammar

I know the English language can be confusing at times, but to be a great writer you need to know correct grammar. Using it incorrectly can give employers a bad impression of you. Plus, as a professional writing major, it’s assumed that you know it. It is what you are studying, so make sure each email, manuscript and writing of any kind has correct grammar.

3. Motivation

Writing is a competitive field and you have to stand out to make it to the top. To be a professional writer, you need to have that self-motivation to keep going and pushing towards your goals. You may come across these kinds of roadblocks in the road:

  • Writer’s block
  • Lacking productivity
  • No confidence
  • Finding clients
  • Getting rejected
  • Competition

Coming across these issues when writing can be conflicting and annoying. However, as long as you push through and never give up, these problems will never chain you down completely. Everyone finds their motivation in different ways, so make sure to surround yourself with those motivators to help you out when difficult times like these come up.

4. Imagination

Most writers come with this already engraved in their soul. It’s an important skill to have regardless of what kind of professional writing you go into. Without imagination, writing would be flat and two-dimensional.

To help develop your imagination further, try to do a writing prompt once a day. You can find them on multiple different websites and prompts can ultimately be a great tool to further your creativity. You might even see your writing improve due to it!

5. A Basic Knowledge of Marketing

Whether you are an author, copywriter or other professional, you need to be knowledgeable about marketing. It is important to know the audience you are writing for, what style and topics will fit them and what kind of platform they will respond to best. It’s important always to be searching for new ideas, keeping up with current events and knowing what is popular versus what is out.

6. Thick Skin

Writing involves putting a part of yourself onto the paper and it can take a lot just to let others even read your work. You must be able to receive feedback and even criticism of your work without wanting to hide. Not everyone is going to like what you write and you will have to accept that. Just know that for every person who doesn’t like your writing, there are a hundred of others will do enjoy it.

7. Research Skills

Every writer does some kind of research when writing. It doesn’t matter if you are an author, editor, or copywriter, every job requires some kind of research. It is important to know how to conduct effective research and pick out the details that your designated audience will enjoy and be able to pull information from. You can’t just fake it and fill in the gaps with what you think is right; readers will know when you’re faking it. It’s important to exercise those skills now and not later in life.

8. Always Looking to Improve

The great thing about writing is that it’s always changing. New ideas are being formed every day and new trends are being set. While some people can argue that being a good writer is a quality that you either have or you don’t, the fact is anyone can learn with discipline and practice. If you work hard and are willing to learn from your mistakes, you can easily improve your writing and develop your skills. Even the most popular writer is looking in all areas of their writing to see where they can improve. If you commit to practicing and never give up, you will become a better writer and learn how to develop your craft to its fullest potential.

Interested in becoming a professional writer? Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Science offers a variety of classes and events to help you become the best writer you can be. To learn more about the professional writing degree at GCU, visit our website or contact us today using the Request More Information button on the page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.