What does the term writer mean to you, and what qualities does a writer need? According to the dictionary, a writer is “one who writes, or an author”. It also says that an author is “a person who writes a book, article or other written work”. These are not exactly useful definitions, as if this is to be believed anyone who writes these things can call themselves a writer, regardless of whether they do this for a living, either full pr part time. I mean, we all write to some extent, does a blogger qualify or do we need to physically put pen to paper? Can you write using a computer? I wrote my entire book by computer, yet none of the dictionaries I looked at mention typing as a valid form of writing; it seems that you have to do it the old fashioned way.
What the dictionary does indicate is that writers are people who handle words. This is a definite art whether it is done on paper or computer, or even if you are writing music. The art is in stringing the words together, turning these various strings and threads into a story, a book, an article or a manual on how to use your washing machine for that matter – because these are writers too.
What skills a writer needs – well apart from the obvious, a good command of their native language, they also need patience, the ability to use different research tools and therefore talk to and communicate with others, an understanding of the business world and how it works, but also a liking for their own company, since it can be a very solitary
Most of the time, the writer and his or her reader never get to meet – it is if you like a long distance love affair. It is the writers job to capture the imagination of the reader, and sweep him or her off their feet into the world of fantasy, or whatever their genre is, and then to release them, knowing and hoping that they will come back for more. The most important quality that a writer needs then is perhaps the ability to see inside the heads of their readers, to understand where they are coming from and know what it is they want. It is almost an unspoken contract between writer and reader, that when the reader starts to read they are being invited into the private realm of the writer, and ask the writer to plant ideas and seeds in their heads to get them thinking and questioning.