Updated June 2023

I developed a checklist for good writing based on the 6 Traits of Good Writing, created by the Northwest Writing Lab (now Education Northwest). These questions help you find opportunities to improve your own writing and offer actionable feedback on someone else's. We use it here at The Word Factory and with all our content marketing, training and coaching clients.

Writing Coach Margot Lester's checklist for good writing

Download your own at https://bit.ly/445aPp9.

The Traits of Quality Writing

Here's my take on the 6 traits:

1. Ideas

Check out my strategy to capature ideas and details.

2. Organization

  • A beginning that entices the audience to read more.
  • An ending that compels readers to think, feel and/or do.
  • Logical and easy-to-follow organization.

Get help writing better beginnings and endings.

3. Voice

  • A voice and resulting tone that is appropriate to the subject and resonates with your audience.
  • A voice that sounds like a real person.
  • Strong feelings and honest statements.

 Learn to find and use your voice effectively.

4. Word Choice

Choose the best words for your content.

5. Sentence Fluency

  • Start sentences in different ways.
  • Use different lengths and structures.
  • Structure sentences to make the meaning clear.
  • Rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, and other “effects” used appropriately and effectively.

See examples and strategies for using different sentence patterns.

6. Conventions

  • Correct spelling, including proper nouns.
  • Punctuation that makes the writing easy to understand.
  • Proper usage, particularly of technical terms.
  • Grammar that makes the writing easier to understand (may not always follow rules).

Don't SPUG yourself up!

Want more? Here's another checklist with specific revision strategies.

Want to invest becoming a better writer?