Recently, I’ve been running a 20 Minute 1-on-1 Writing Workshop. Helping others to get in touch with their writing style has been an unexpected adventure! However, there’s always that lingering question, “What is style?”
The best advice I’ve ever read about writing style comes from the book Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg.
She says that your writing style is who you are.
When I first read that I thought, “What does that even mean?”
However, the more I write, the more I understand.
Readers may think they’re connecting with the writer’s style, but in reality, they are connecting with the writer’s truth. Readers connect with how clearly they can see you. Writing that gives readers the clearest view of who you are and your inner world is your writing style.
For some writers, that truth comes out in lyrical writing. In others, it comes out as humor and wit. For some, it comes out in an energetic and straightforward style. And with others, it comes out in lush descriptions (aka “flowery” writing).
That truth shows up in different ways for each writer. It’s very individual. And that’s probably why clarifying style is the number one reason why people take my workshop, although it also can address other writing issues.
Also, style isn’t set in stone. It changes as we age and experience different things in life. It also changes according to why we’re writing and who we’re writing for.
So then comes the question, “How do you find your style?”
Here are two main ways:
Continue to write pieces where you are yourself.
Journal and free-write regularly. I know this isn’t very ground-breaking, but it’s true. I’ve found blogging to be a great way to discover my natural writing style because keeping a blog involves writing a lot regularly. The more you write as yourself, the more you can recognize your voice. In short, write a lot without self-judgment. Take time to write in a place that feels safe to you.
Reading what you write aloud can also help you to hear what kind of voice you have in your writing.
Don’t be surprised if your natural writing voice is a little different from your daily speaking voice, especially if you’re an introvert. I find that my writing voice has more impact and presence than my speaking voice.
As a side-note, sharing your work with kind friends or a supportive online audience can also help you to hone in on your writing style through feedback.
I hope this short post helps you on your journey to finding your writing identity! I wish it could have been longer, but really, the subject of writing style isn’t as complex as people make it to be.
And if you would like to work with me, please click here for more information about my 1-on-1 Writing Workshop.