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 when they hear their work is not perfect. They believe there is only one way to write a paragraph or 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 it. 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 constantly fails to reach a milestone, such not finishing a chapter because of a distraction or because they want to rewrite the chapter again.

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 writing. 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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