What Qualities are the Most Important for a Writer?

What qualities are the most important for a writer? I believe that above all it writing requires an open mind and an open heart. Innate talent for observation and word play is great. Grammar and structure are skills that can be taught and honed. If you can’t embrace the world for what it is, though, the good and the bad, your work will be flat. When you aren’t able, or willing, to look at people for who they are, in both their glory and unpleasantness, your characters will be flat and unrelatable. It’s not about bringing judgment. It’s about a willingness to see.

By no coincidence I also think that these are the qualities that are most important for a human being. Mister Rogers. The Dalai Lama. Bob Ross. This belief of mine should in no way be construed as saying that I’m this sort of person. I fall short of this ideal by leagues. It’s something that I work toward. It’s a journey, and a struggle. But it’s our connection to the world around us that matters.

What qualities are the most important for a writer? Our basic humanity. Those of us who identify as writers use the written word to try and define and express that.


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

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