Find Out if You’re a Good Writer

If you’re not happy with the quality of your writing, you’ve taken the first step toward improving it. So says novelist Raymond Obstfeld in the latest issue of Start Writing Now, our special publication loaded with tips and inspiration to get you writing.

Every writer doubts his or her ability from time to time. “The difference between the novice and the professional writer,” Obstfeld says, “is that the pro knows these doubts are, like stage fright for an actor, merely an occupational hazard.” Still, “without that fear and anxiety, we might settle for less than our best.”

Here’s a tip to determine the quality of your writing:

TIP 3: Mine for Gold
There’s a rule of thumb in sitcom writing that you must have three laughs per page. Decide what your goal is, then read through your manuscript to see if you’ve lived up to that goal. For example, my goal is that I must find one “good moment” per page. That moment might be a metaphor, a descriptive phrase, a dialogue exchange. But if I can find one shining moment per page, I am pleased. If I find more, I’m delighted?and usually surprised.

The more you reread your work, the less enamored you are over each word. I often carry pages of my manuscript with me all day so that any time I get a few minutes, I can reread them and continually polish. After a while, I’m a much more objective critic and more easily separate the wheat from the chaff.

Read the complete list of tips in the latest issue of Start Writing Now ($4.99).

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