How do I find the perfect style of writing? We demystify common preconceptions in five steps.
If you ask Dr. Google for the perfect style of writing, you will only find the wrong style for you, if anything. It is like this, you see: whatever you happen to stumble upon, online or offline, it inevitably is someone else’s work. The countless efforts in finding the one universal definition, all of them failed, do concur in one aspect, though: and this is individuality. Style – whether in writing, painting, performing or worn, is always an expression of one’s own personality. And personality is not a thing that you can learn. Your personality is what you are. The art of style does not lie in finding your own style, it lies in feeling it. So, dear reader, there is something motivation that we can share with you right away: your individual style in writing already exists. Maybe it is just that you need to let it flow first, maybe it still needs a little more developing, but it is there. It was given to you just as your likes and dislikes, your preferences and your aversions were: it came into existence exactly when you did, at the point of your creation.
The How-to for letting your personal style of writing come to the fore and to let it shine is what follows now in novum publishing’s five steps of literary self-discovery:
Step 1: Stylistic Inconsistency
Say yes to stylistic inconsistency. Break all the rules. Seriously. Bring everything you ever read or learned about the great rules of writing to mind and – forget about it. Every single thing. Forget about how you learned that sentences too long and intricate are to be shied away from, because you are bound to find one great, universally admired author at least who indulged in just those neverending literary constructions. If you need a concrete example of what we mean, and the complete opposite at that, then look no further than at the works of the great Ernest Hemingway and forget any attempt of turning your writing into a work of abstract art. Short and sweet, straight to the point or complex and intricate – there just is no such thing as the “wrong” style of writing. There is only your writing style.
Step 2: Inspiration
Look for role models. Seek inspiration from the great classics of literature. Let Shakespeare, Goethe, Dickens and Hemingway be your literary guides to a sense of language. Always be alert and open for new patterns of speech. But beware: idols are for inspiration only, not for copying. There is no use in attempting to become a copycat of the great masters, as one is inevitably bound to fail. Not because it is in any way impossible to compete with the great artists of classical literature, but because it simply is impossible to be one of them. Furthermore, if you are eager and willing to learn, there is something you can take away from even the worst of books. Knowing what you do not want can be just as helpful as knowing what you do want. Allow yourself to get inspired.
Step 3: Practice
It takes practice to master any form of art, and writing is no exception to the rule. Write as much and as often as you can. To hone their skills, writers-to-be should try at as many genres as possible. Be it poetry, short stories or tragedies – each and every genre asks for different aspects and facets of language. It is only through diligent practice that we learn to understand which styles, writing and literary genres we really do prefer. And only through actively applying different forms of perspectives in literature, be it first or third person narrative, that we really learn which one we really do prefer. Creating a coherent storyline is also something that takes skill and practice and won’t just fall into the lap of even the most gifted of writers. Another really useful tool on the road to literary perfection is translating. A few admired authors and writers successfully acted as translators. When translating, authors get a better understanding of their own expression and augment their vocabulary– and, ideally, maybe even manage to rise above their translated piece.
Step 4: Intuition
Let your intuition lead the way. The popular author and writer’s mentor Julia Cameron already emphasised how important it is to prioritise the process, not the result. Do not write with your mind, write with your heart. Let your words express what you feel deep inside. We often let reason outweigh everything else, and by doing so, we constrain ourselves in our creative powers. Creativity is a process that can be blocked by various factors, if they are allowed to, that is. For everyone wishing to overcome any writing blocks and to let their creativity flow freely, we have a few recommended tips on creative writing that can be found right here.
Step 5: Faith
Have faith in your own abilities. Trust your inner writer’s instinct. Only a creative process free of any preconceptions will lead to innovative ideas. If you choose to take another writer’s path rather than your own, this is akin to committing self-treason. Mimickry – also of rules – will never lead to anything new. Great writers manage to trust their abilities and, as a result, also their stories, completely. So, if you should find yourself tempted to copy your idols, if you cannot resist, choose wisely and copy the one thing they have that won’t fail you: their self-confidence. If you do that, your own writing style will follow soon enough.
What makes your individual style of writing? Share your experiences and thoughts with us in the comments below!
Keep writing, keep typing!
You are already confident in your skills as a writer and are only too eager to finally put pen to paper and get your work published? Click here to learn more on how to achieve just that!