I often find myself tearing the pages of my notebook because I find what I have written to be painfully awful. The constant self-doubt that plagued my writings and mind made me wonder: If everything I write is horrible, then what objectively qualifies as good writing?
Back in school days, it was comparatively easier to figure out whether what I had written was good or not because I had an English teacher grading what I had written all the time. But when you step into the writing world, it's not that simple. I think these days, good writing has just become a synonym for published writing, or you are a good writer when you receive praise. But then writers like Franz Kafka and Emily Dickson, who couldn't find publishers and were deemed as failures when they were alive but today are hailed as writing legends.
As I have grown older, I have realized that what people consider good writing is simply a matter of personal preference. But as someone who grew up with a constant need for other people's stamp of approval on my write-ups, I find myself struggling these days to write out of fear of writing something horrible that will be made fun of. Therefore, this blog was not written with the intention of telling others what they can or should consider good writing. I wrote this intending to remind myself what matters to me in terms of writing, and if I just had to approve something that I have written on what grounds will I consider it to be good.
Good writing is not characterized simply by the absence of grammatical errors and the presence of complicated fancy words. Writers need to have a good grasp of grammar and vocabulary which can help them write efficiently, but it does not immediately guarantee good writing.
Above everything else, good writing for me, is characterized by its ability to connect with the readers and make them feel something. Good writing stays with the reader for a long time, and it makes them think deeply from a perspective they might not have thought of before.
Good writing is an honest reflection of the writer's personality. A good writer pours their heart and soul into writing. A good writer has a distinct writing voice and does not shy away from diving into uncomfortable topics.
Most importantly, good writing comes from practice, patience, and perseverance. And a passionate writer does not give up even after facing failure.
It is very easy to get caught up in other people's definitions of good and bad. Here I tried to define good writing for myself in my terms, and I hope I can stick to it in moments when I am spiraling into self-doubt. And if you are a writer, I hope you too can define what good or bad writing means to you in your terms.
is a young writer from India who is currently pursuing Mass Media. Apart from reading and writing, she spends most of her time daydreaming and listening to music. You can find her on Instagram at @aastha.1703.