Thursday, April 23, 2015

7 Traits of Remarkable Writers

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas 

Over the course of my writing time, over ten years now, I’ve met many writers, read many books, and studied authors. And I studied more than how they applied the craft to their stories. I studied how they applied themselves to their writing.

The truly remarkable writers I’ve met all seem to have character or personality traits that make them stand out. And this doesn’t apply to only published authors. Many aspiring writers display these same traits as they continue to write and pursue publication.
Remarkable writers are diligent. Another word might be discipline. They write, most of them, every day. Others, with family or work obligations, diligently plan their schedules to free up as much writing time as possible. They are dedicated to writing and to improving their craft.

Remarkable writers know how to be patient.
Patience is not simply waiting. Patience is striving during the waiting. Remarkable writers recognize the road to learning the craft and to publication can be long and filled with potholes and construction delays. They recognize their responsibility to keep writing, to create the best stories they can, to cling to their dreams on being writers, knowing God will open the right door at the right time. They prepare themselves to walk through it when it does.

They are faithful to their calling. They are faithful in their relationship with God. They are faithful to their families, fellow writers, and critique groups.

They never stop learning no matter how much success they’ve had. They read and re-read books on writing. They work with critique partners. They attend conferences, seminars, and webinars. Not just to network but to sit in workshops and take notes and ask questions. To be at a conference and have writers like Randy Ingermanson and Liz Curtis Higgs in the same workshop, learning just as I am, is inspiring.

Remarkable writers are givers.
I’ve yet to meet a remarkable writer who was not a giver. They give of their time and talent to teach workshops, to mentor and coach small groups or individual writers. They pay forward what others have invested in them.

They read. Voraciously. Their genre. Other genres. Books on writing. They read to learn, to find some nugget, no matter how small, that they can apply to their own writing.

Purposeful Story Tellers
Their stories do more than entertain. They carry out their calling to write stories inspired by God. They explore themes and issues. They take ordinary characters and put them in extraordinary circumstance to how us how to live Christ-centered lives and confront the problems we face in the real world.

Can you think of other traits you’ve seen in remarkable writers? Do you see any of these traits in yourself? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

7 Traits of Remarkable writers - via Henry McLaughlin, @RiverBendSagas on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Becoming a remarkable writer takes more than learning how to write - @RiverBendSagas (Click to Tweet)

Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. He serves as Associate Director of North Texas Christian Writers. Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers. Connect with Henry on his blogTwitter and Facebook.


  1. Thank you Henry for this list of goals for me. Yes, I am going to read this often to make sure I am on track.

    1. Thank you, Cherrilynn. I'm grateful you found them helpful.

  2. What a great post and what a great reminder.

    One thing I would add to that list is persistence. Without persistence, the others are only momentary. A remarkable writer must get past every rejection, every obstacle, and every challenge.

    1. Thank you, Carrie. I agree.

  3. I've had so many great writers pour into me over the years, I can only hope to pay it forward.

    1. Thanks, Ane. I think one of the best ways to honor those who have poured into us is to pour into others.

  4. Great post, Henry! I've been blessed to have giving and diligent critique partners. Not only are they honest--they're helpful and supportive. And they always have great book recommendations!

    1. Thanks, Diane. You're a great example of what a critique partner should be.

  5. I've been blessed by people who are examples of this in my writing journey. Thank you for for succinctly summarizing traits that I can strive for. Great post!