Sunday, May 29, 2011

Since I started writing online over four years ago, I've listened to other writers talk about producing "high quality work" and I have come to the conclusion that, like beauty, "quality is in the eye of the beholder."

I like to think I produce quality work, but I'm not naive enough to think that everyone shares that opinion of my writing. To some, much of my writing may simply be drivel that is best left in the recesses of my mind. You see, I dabble with all sorts of writing that appeals to a range of readers from my paranormal blog to my Goals and Gratitude Blog. I take risks and have fun with what I do. But, I have long given up the notion of being a perfectionist. I make mistakes, and that's okay -- at least in my blogs. I like to think it makes me appear more human. I also write for clients who expect flawless work written in specific formats and adhering to stringent guidelines. I can do that, too -- but its not as much fun.

Some writers measure the quality of their work by the amount of money they earn, confusing the money value of their work on some sites with its quality.  I know that sounds odd, but I think its true. As online writers we are all too quick to equate our earnings with our success and often overlook that there is more to online writing than making money.

Others assume they are producing quality work if their topic is popular. It may attract a lot of viewers and if you write for revenue share or earn money from page views, it may be profitable -- but that shouldn't be confused with "quality writing."

So, that brings me to the question: What is quality writing? Is it flawless writing that meets all the standards of grammatical construction and states its case in clear, concise language? Is it writing that draws the most readers? Or, could it be that quality writing is something different altogether?
I have come to the conclusion that quality writing is more than construction, more than popularity and more than the money it earns. I can't speak for anyone else, but I can share with you my ideas of what makes quality writing.
  • Meets minimum standards of grammar and construction. A missed comma or two isn't going to kill anyone. Simple direct language is fine, but sentence fragments, run-on sentences and gross errors of tense and subject/verb agreement are not.
  • Spelling is accurate. Anyone can look up a word in the dictionary. Work riddled with misspellings is the sign of a lazy writer.
  • Provides the reader with new information or provokes thought.
  • Goes beyond what the reader wants or expects to provide the reader with what he needs, regardless of if he is aware of the need.
  • Backs up information and avoids vague references.
  • Does not present opinion as fact.
Please feel free to add your ideas on what makes quality writing in the comments. I'd love to hear what you have to say.






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