What is Good Writing?

Lectured today and yesterday on the surprisingly easy to answer question: “What is good writing?” Likely, you have an answer in your head right now. We all have opinions on the matter.

I asked earlier in the week on twitter and facebook for your thoughts. Here are a few of your responses:

Katy Sauer Lellelid: Good writing is when you read something twice, but not because you didn’t understand it the first time. It was worth a second read because it was just awesome. :)

Dwina Willis: Good writing is not just for English majors. When you are answering a discussion question on a biology test, you need to write in complete sentences…GOOD WRITING IS A LIFE SKILL!

David Gardner: [Good writing is] From the heart.

Justin Gerhardt: Good writing develops consensus. It charms the reader into agreeing that true things are true and beautiful things are beautiful.

Joy Simmons: Good writing transports you from the here and now to a magical, wonderful world where you have never been, but after reading about it, you feel as though you have been there…….and makes you wish the journey would never end.
(Good writing also typically does not involve long, run-on sentences like the above.)  : )

Lindsay Sawyer Zirkel: Good writing makes you want to write :)

Benjamin Keener: Good writing speaks for itself, you know it when you see it. When you write well, you do not have to explain further to reach your point.


Rob Franks: I always say good writing is bold writing. Or “intellectually bold” writing.

And my favorite…

Erin Adams: Good writing is clean, lean, and oh-so-slightly aggressive. It also tastes good dipped in ice cream.

Me? I guess I’d say that good writing makes things happen. It changes people—how they think, how they act, what they watch, what they eat, where they shop, how much they give, what they believe, who they marry.

I married my husband because of a love letter—one beautiful, honest letter. Seriously.

How’s that for making things happen?

I’d love to add your thoughts to the list. Comment away!