Does Having a High IQ Make You a Good Writer? jane sandwood

Does Having a High IQ Make You a Good Writer?

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
~George Orwell~


By Jane Sandwood

02/21/2018

What does it take to become a good writer? A fierce passion for words. A spark of inspiration. A wealth of creativity. Oh, and perseverance by the bucketful. We write to truly express ourselves and share the secrets of our soul. But to what extent is good writing the sign of a high IQ? Are the two intrinsically linked?

What makes a high IQ? 



Genetics has a lot to do with intelligence levels. Some people are born smarter than others, however, it doesn’t mean that if you are naturally clever, you were born to be a writer. IQ isn’t all about nature, nurture and education also has a valuable role to play in how clever we are. You can measure your IQ with a simple test, and this will give you a fair indication of intelligence levels. It covers categories such as writing and non-verbal reasoning. It doesn’t, however, take into account age, socio-economic status, and academic achievement.You should also take into consideration that IQ levels change over your life – your IQ levels become more stable as you get older, and therefore generally more educated. This education can increase your IQ level, but it is worth bearing in mind that learned knowledge and intelligence are quite different. 

education can increase your IQ level, but it is worth bearing in mind that learned knowledge and intelligence are quite different. Click To Tweet


How does education and intelligence affect writing? 



Intelligence is a natural ability and talent that we are born with. There are many different types of intelligence, including spatial awareness and emotional intelligence. Intelligence can be nurtured and expanded upon with the right learning, but it is not the same as education. If you are well educated, then you have been taught knowledge. Education has a direct impact on your writing – especially in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure. Reading many different books in a variety of genres and styles will improve your outlook and understanding of the world. You can be taught the art of crafting a plot, full of curves and twists, after all, planning is one of the essential secrets to writing a novel. You can have a thesaurus worth of interesting synonyms in your head, and the background knowledge to help with your research. Creative writing is taught in universities to the Masters level, but this level of education doesn’t mean you are a good writer. There is no denying, however, that it will help you along the way if you have a bucketful of ambition to go with it. 



The balance between IQ and education in your writing

Having a high IQ won’t make you a good writer. It may be a good advantage, but it is the fine balance between intelligence and learning that can give you the craft to form a good poem or pen a beautiful story. Writing is about the ability to express the thoughts, feelings, and ideas that are in your head. You need to be able to vocalise the world around you in a way that others will understand and connect with. You may be able to pass the abstract reasoning and independent reading parts of an IQ test with flying colours, but being a writer needs both discipline and imagination – these are definitely not on the test. It is a combination of creativity and hard work. You may have beautiful ideas and a high IQ, but, still, even this isn’t quite enough. As Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of… Click To Tweet



Jane Sandwood

Benefits Of Reading For Writers  two drops of ink

Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and editor with over 10 years’ experience working across many fields. When Jane isn’t writing, she is busy spending time with her family. She also enjoys music, reading, and travelling whenever she can.

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4 comments

  1. These are some interesting thoughts about IQ. Many people who know me know that computer programming was a part of my background. A long time ago I had to fix an error in a computer program. I had heard about the original coder – a member of MENSA, a 158 IQ. Did that mean he write good code? No. Deconstructing his error was a nightmare, everything was undocumented, making one assumption, nothing could ever go wrong. His error, not making his work so others could understand. I, on the other-hand documented everything, to ensure the people who followed my could fix my errors. Years later I did an IQ test and it turned out I wasn’t so bad either, 143.

  2. Jane, This post is an interesting connection between IQ and education that fascinates me as an educator. I have seen kids with lower IQs who could write and those who had higher ones that couldn’t and vise versa. I do know that educating writers and non writers alike can help them become better…even if they never write a novel. 🙂 Thanks for posting.

  3. Jane, this particular part of your post really resonated with me, but this post in general is excellent.

    “Writing is about the ability to express the thoughts, feelings, and ideas that are in your head. You need to be able to vocalise the world around you in a way that others will understand and connect with.”

    Reading your perspective about IQ, education, and writing sparked my interest. I guess I never thought of it the way you explained it. Appreciate your thoughts. Now I’ll be off and running on the links you provided. Thank you Jane.

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