Style exercises such as the Style Masquerade always give me a lot to think about. Mimicking another writer’s style heightens my awareness of my own style. I begin to relate to their flaws or admire their structures that I may not necessarily have thought of. Andrew Sullivan in particular was an interesting case because his writing was informal in the context of academic writing but formal in the context of blogging. Thus, his writing made me consider a lot about the role perspective and audience has to play in crafting one’s style. Furthermore, I realized by reading his work as well as the style chapters, how much more effective tight, concise writing can be in comparison to flowery language. When somebody delivers a succinct, brief paragraph rather than a long winded one, the impact is even longer lasting. While reiterating this lesson to my brother he repeated a funny but accurate Mark Twain quote: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead.” This quote really emphasizes the idea that length is not always equivalent to quality. Rather, especially for me, it’s actually harder to edit one’s work down.
Reading the style chapters was interesting because it reminded me of many technical terms and sentences structures I may have forgotten the formal names of but that I use everyday. Even in the Influential Writing Gallery, every post is full of different kind of structures and clauses. These are the building blocks of our writing from emails to classic novels. It is always valuable to break down these impactful pieces of writing to these building blocks to see how to not just admire them, but to create similar pieces. This also got me thinking about why I write. As I’ve been discovering through this exploratory exercise, I write to elucidate certain thoughts and connections. Whether my own emotions or a response classmate’s blog post, writing on a subject enables me to uncover certain bridges in thought that build upon my character as a person and a writer. The more I write, the more I learn about myself and other people surrounding me.