The most important thing to discover with regards to writing is your “style”. Once you lock in on your style, all the rest will follow closely behind.
How do we find our style, know our style, or realize, if and when we’ve got a writing style?
Finding your style
Finding your style comes from many things, but high on the list is a lot of reading. I don’t mean just this year. For a lifetime. Your style could be a combination of those writers you love to emulate, dream to be. Really, this is not a blatant thing, but an unconscious one. But I like to think those I admire are a little bitsy part of my writing style today. All those hours spent curled up with books, both good and bad, had to influence what I do as a writer.
Style also comes from your upbringing, your parents, your life’s experiences, your beliefs and the area you live in. Values instilled in you growing up are hard to get rid of when you’re writing. You can’t do it. Well, I guess you can in fiction, but that’s another story.
Knowing your style
I’ve often asked friends who were writers, and some that were not, what is my style? They tell me all the things I’m good at writing about and how I make them laugh, but that wasn’t it. What I wanted to hear was not that. Some time ago I sent samples of my writing to a few friends, and they both decided that night, while perusing some of my writing, that I was a combination of Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry.
I have to admit that I have never read Dave Barry faithfully although I am familiar with his style and flair for writing. I am quite familiar with Ms. Bombeck and knew Erma had made people laugh for years and also knew she had passed away. I feel honoured that many feel I write similar to Ms. Bombeck, but I have no desire to “replace her”.
Do you have a writing style yet?
Don’t worry, your fans will let you know, and by fans, I mean your readers. They will tell you what they enjoy about your writing. With me, it’s humor, a wry and quick wit, an open way of writing, an honest approach, and a quirky way of looking at life. Expressing myself in words comes easy to me, and I know that readers like the emotions I evoke with that expressiveness.
On the discovery journey of locating your own style, I say don’t look too hard. You’ll read all about style in Writer’s Digest and other places.
The words of wisdom? Just be yourself and let your “self” enter whatever you write and there you will find your talents and hidden potential.