Signs You’re a Bad Writer… and How to Improve

What is a bad writer? I’ve looked at over a handful of articles in search of an explanation of what makes a bad writer, and everyone seems to have a different point of view. Some say it’s the attitude to writing, and others say it’s poor writing skills, such as bad grammar and punctuation.

Writing is both a skill and a work of art, so you could say a bad writer is a mix of someone with a negative attitude to writing and weak writing skills. So how could a bad writer improve their technique? One way is to start by identifying the signs that they’re a bad writer.

Bad Writer Sign #1: Closed Off to Feedback

Bad writers dislike criticism and become defensive the minute they hear that their work is not perfect. They believe there is only one way to write a paragraph, one way to write a story, and that’s their way. They don’t want to see how a sentence could be rewritten to make the meaning clearer.

A bad writer is closed off to feedback and sees comments as an attack on them as a person. They don’t see constructive feedback as a suggestion on how to improve their writing. Instead, they see the comments as a suggestion that they are flawed as a person.

Bad Writer Sign #2: Working on Projects That Last Forever

Some writers blame writer’s block when they start a writing project and never finish. This project could be a short story, an essay, a poem, or a novel. They work on rewrite after rewrite but they never finish what they start.

Writing takes discipline, from setting goals to setting deadlines for completing those goals. A bad writer is constantly stopping before reaching a milestone such as finishing a chapter or completing the final paragraph of a story.

It’s difficult to improve your writing skills if you’ve never finished your first draft of a piece of writing.

Bad Writer Sign #3: Stale Writing Skills

Bad writers have limited vocabulary and sentence structure. They don’t expand their vocabulary to add more variety to their language. Neither do they try to write their sentences in different ways. Each sentence follows the same pattern so that their writing is repetitious.

When a bad writer doesn’t learn more vocabulary or open themselves to criticism, they may also be unaware of incorrect word use, such as mixing up their, there, and they’re; or similar words such as illusion and allusion.

How to Transition from a Bad Writer to a Good Writer

A good writer isn’t necessarily a perfect writer or the best writer. But a good writer will start by learning what they can about writing. They will finish the first draft and be open to feedback on how they can improve. They will work on revisions so that the third draft is an improvement from the first.

Improving one’s writing skills isn’t easy. To make a comparison, writing is like a muscle that can only be strengthened if you use it. With an open attitude to feedback and learning writing skills, a bad writer could become a good writer over time!

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11 thoughts on “Signs You’re a Bad Writer… and How to Improve

  1. What I hate is seeing a mispelled or wrong version of a word right after I hit send. At least on my own site I can edit the offending word but not when I comment on somebody else’s site. It’s even worse on a cell phone where autocorrect will insist on what it thinks it the correct word and it’s easier to strike the wrong key by fat fingering the tiny keypad.

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  2. A thought provoking post to say the least, Vanya! I have spent most of my life writing. Much of what I have written is in the professional view: reports, submissions, letters and the like. Some of this work has been very very good and recognised as such. Some of it though, from my point of view, just okay. Blogs are a different matter all together, so I do the best I can with the time I have.

    The points you raise are very important to a writer. Feedback is important. However, the most important part of feedback is how it is delivered. In the days when I was a public servant (at a time when what was produced had to be perfect – this is not the case anymore), feedback was always by way of copious red pen all over what you had written. Of course these days there is the review function in certain document software. It was a terrible way to receive feedback. So I vowed to always provide suggestions rather than rewrite someone’s work. That way you do not make the writer feel inferior and they learn at the same time.

    As for writer’s block or being the perfectionist, the best thing to do is go away and have a cup of tea or go for a walk or work on something else and then come back to your project. More often than not, the need for excessive rewriting is gone.

    Yes, changing one’s written work up is very important. I try to find different ways of presenting my work or information all the time. For one thing, it stops me from being bored which means my reader won’t be bored either. I accept I need to apply this to my blog though 😂

    A good writer is not the best writer, but the can be through perseverance. Just look at Winston Churchill 😊

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