what is good writing?

Michael Sean

My thoughts on good writing…

Genuine authentic good writing is something I eagerly breathe in, hoping that in the process I can make it apart of me so that I might produce work as equally invigorating.  Good writing invokes an emotional eagerness, an emotional response of inquisitiveness that is more exciting and magnetic that anything else you could be doing at that moment. It is alluring in the most curious way. It has an enlightening edge that cuts deep. It picks you up and your mind forgets the words. A script inside your body begins to resonate with this truth as your imagination dances around possibilities. It’s no longer a chore. It’s no longer a book. It’s an experience that transcends basic communication. Good writing keeps your mind in the here and now, in motion. It doesn’t matter what it’s dwelling on, past or present. It’s fierce. It’s bold. It’s fresh and new and properly lit in a way you’ve never seen it before. It tastes a little different, smells a little different. The combinations of experiences you’ve explored to date are melting into internal imagery that produces natural fluidity in your understanding. You’re every faculty is engaged and prompt and willing. It is ready to go. Your heart is fluttering and you’re anxious for the feelings to begin or end or endure the thrill of the journey. It’s all in between. It’s a masterful collection of anything and everything you’ve dreamed to create in that moment.

I read what moves me, and I write when I’m moved.  I only want to write from my heart, where my feelings dictate my fingers, where I enter a state of conscious unconsciousness. Time stops and my eyes pass through the screen or paper into my thoughts where I swim and skim off the top of my subconscious. My vibrations are in sync with every cell in my body. This is sometimes brief. A flash of inspiration like a white light. Sometimes it lasts for hours until my attention is forced to be drawn elsewhere. I only want to write in order to let people know that someone feels like they do. I want to capture the curiosity, capture the eagerness, capture the appeal of another consciousness, or subconscious. Maybe these words will replay at night in their dreams. Maybe a single word I present in my productions will be the last word in a revelation to could change their life. Who knows? I just want to relay and relate.


Writing is an art, much like music or  painting. There are many aspects that make an artist more powerful and talented than the others in his field. Recognizing and refining these aspects are essential for the artist to excel as he pours himself into his work so that another soul may be touched through a medium such as art.  

Just as notes are fundamental to a musician or paint is vital to a painter, so is vocabulary essential for a writer. A good vocabulary allows for experiences or understandings to be encoded with emotional or mental stimulus, into a single word for digestion. A single misplaced word can mean the difference between a mutual understanding and a complete miscommunication. Vocabulary provides the raw resources for our imagination to constructs our thoughts.  Just like as single note on a musical ledger synthesizes and harmonizes with our inner self, so can a word resonate with unique feelings and ideas. The style is simply the writer’s soul communicating  as much honest detail as possible from his heart to the readers. Like the detailed brush stroked of a painting, or the symphonic arrangement of musical notes, it is something that is personal and rarely duplicable. These two elements, when arranged into a coherent melodious message, will bloom causing ideas to refract perspective, reflect insight, and color the landscape of our mind with the proper contrasts and shades of the story.

To be a competent writer there needs to be emotional engagement. The emotional inspiration is what makes the writing personable. If the writer is less than enthused about the writing, it will seem meaningless, void of any value, dry and rigid. The commonality and fluidity of human emotion will cause a reader to look past the basic metaphysical realm of grammatical traditional prose and into a much deeper message of meaning.

I want to see a writer who is obsessed with communicating his heart and soul. To be a good writer you need to bear all. Screw all the mindless jargon. It’s boring. What I want is raw human emotion. I want sheer brutal honesty. I want the ‘what is’. I want to take something from the experience. I want to grasp his unique assimilation and response to human experience totally naked and free.  When I can smell and taste and feel the message and the thoughts and feelings, when I’m in the writers mind, shaking and breathing heavy, than I know that the writer is competent. He will find whatever way possible to relay this kind of message.

            In the end, competent writing is an individual expression. To what degree you want to expose this individuality will determine the reader’s response. The writer shouldn’t worry whether or not everyone can relate. You cannot please everyone. The only thought to be given is to those that have the imagination to engage so that they can testify in their deepest of gut that what is being translated is real and tangible- no matter how intangible their thoughts and feelings are. The grammar, the style, the vocabulary, the iteration, the prose…. It will come naturally after you have beaten the hell out of the negative instincts that cause you to shy away from exposing your soul. Those technicalities, those formal traditions of proper communication and dialect, used for uniformity, will come as you relate the whole truths that represent human experience in its rawest most honest state.

Personally as a writer, I want to know what I’m doing right.

I want to be successful. I want a teacher who facilitates success. I’ve read a lot of books about success. That universal word, success, relates to personal excellence in any progressive worthwhile ideal or endeavor. I’ve learned to focus entirely on the positive. A positive mental attitude is the only thing that encourages the will to rise to the challenge.  Nothing else allows for proper growth. Anything else stifles or stagnates. Negativity is the weed that chokes out the beautiful flower you’ve worked hard to plant and prune and water throughout the seasons of your life. It will kill all enthusiasm and all progress. Avoid watering the weeds by giving them attention. The key is focus on the solution. Eighty percent of your focus should be on the solution, twenty percent on the problem. I want a teacher who successfully communicates positively.

When you are running a race you do not want to keep your eyes on the starting line, otherwise you’ll never leave.  You want to focus entirely on the finish line, and direct every ounce of energy and focus to get you there. Your desire should be to learn whatever you can to improve your chances of arrival and the efficiency and effectiveness of the time and effort allocated to get you there.

As a writer, I want to hear whether I’m going in the right direction or not. I want to hear about my strengths- what captures your attention, what works. I want to hear what you’re looking for. I want my creativity fostered, encouraged, and guided. I do not want hedges, or boundaries, or blockades. I will grow restless and confused and produce mediocre works for you- when all I want is to produce the very best work for myself. To properly express the holistic mind and the assimilated truths I’ve gathered that represent my unique experiences and perspective.

A detail I specifically look for from a teacher, speaking from my individual opinion as a student, is the ability to ask good questions. I am looking for questions that inspire me to think, to dig deeper. I do not want answers. I want questions. I want a teacher who asks me questions so that I, as a student, can arrive at an answer as I see its relative importance to me. I want to arrive at the intrinsic value of an answer through my own deductive reasoning and intuition. I want to earn it. I want to pave that path. I am unique and I want its significance and  meaning to stay that way. When I ask a question, I want a question in return. That- to me- is the difference between a good teacher, who teaches the students to actually think for themselves and develop their own creative imaginative learning style that leads to the development of a unique individual, and the teacher who fuels the degenerate society we live in to willingly accept the answers we’re fed by our superiors.