A writer, to me, is more than someone who puts words together. That skill is at the heart of who a writer is. However, the modern age…mostly due to technology…has expanded the skills that a writer can have and in many cases should have. To be clear, this is my list. That being said, a good writer has many skills to bring to the table.
Writers read. Read anything and everything that they can get their hands on. Read things related to their interests and not related as well. If involved in a particular field or area of expertise, make sure to read as much as they can about/from that field. Further, if possible read as many different sides as possible to have a complete view, to keep writing from being overly one-sided.
Writers write. All of the time. Even if the writing will never see the light of day, writers write. Paper or screen does not matter. I have a preference for paper and then screen, but I know plenty who prefer to write straight onto the computer. Word count, doesn’t matter to me-some days a few thousand, others 500 for a post. Schedule, this I do think matters. Good practice comes with regular application of the skill, writing. How you schedule is up to you, but at a minimum pick days that you will write on and stick to them.
This is where the optional stuff begins, optional from the stand point of many people, but for me, a good writer should know about these skills.
Design and Layout
Design covers a whole lot of areas and skills, including much below. That being said, a good writer should understand the basics of document design. Document does not mean formal. Document means any piece of writing. Basic document design is understanding how to organize a document for the reader.
- Does the document have a flow that makes sense?
- Does the document include eye breaks and eye movement to direct readers where the writer wanted them to go?
- Does the document look better than a wall of text?
- Does the document show a good use of bold, italic, underlining, quotes, and picture layout?
Those four points, to me, are the basics of document design. Desktop publishing makes knowing those four points integral to writers.
Fonts and Color Scheme
Fonts are a big deal. Most writers pick one or two and stick with them. These choices are rarely interesting, standard fonts used by everyone. There are thousands of fonts and the choice of font can impact writing in ways that the words alone cannot. Fonts are a visual element that cue readers to the written content. Good use of font can turn an ordinary document into an extraordinary document.
Color scheme is another skill/tool for writers. Beyond spicing up a document, colors give eye-breaks and give readers cues about the writing. Such as red, could emphasize anger or action. Writers should learn about colors, which to use, when, and why.
More Skills Tomorrow
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