Writers essentially distinguish themselves from one another through their style. All are given the same raw materials to experiment with; words and phrases with shared meaning. Like painters and their canvases, or dancers with a piece of music, it is up to each writer to determine how to utilize their blank slate.

When I write, I have a difficult time likening myself to a painter, a choreographer, a photographer. Some subconscious barrier prevents me from categorizing myself in the same creative realm as my peers. I realize that it’s all in my head, but sometimes I feel as if my worries about defining my writing style cloud the fact that my style is in fact existent, and is constantly in development.

I loved the style masquerade activity, because putting on the “mask” of someone else’s style was a useful way of comparing your style with someone else’s clearly defined POV. Upon seeing that I was tasked with mimicking Martin Luther King Jr’s style with my English 315 Final paper last semester, meager in persuasive power in comparison to MLK, I almost laughed out loud. But adopting his tone, word choice, and abstract/concrete language proved that embracing elements of style in my writing need not be laborious. Rather, style can be fun and easy. You could say I was surprised.

I think I want to tie in my “Why I Write” project into these realizations in some way. Most of the time, when I write, it’s because I have to. When I was younger, I was constantly sketching, writing in my diary, and writing letters and notes to family/friends. Somewhere in the sea of high school and college academic writing, I lost my creative spark and my passion for writing. I’m hoping that minoring in Writing, and being given the opportunity to explore Why I Write through different media, will enlighten that spark.

Sarah Schuman

Hi! I'm Sarah, from the Chicago area. I write more eloquently with a chai latte by my side.

One thought to “Style-ish”

  1. Hi Sarah,

    I loved your first few sentences about how writers are all given the same tools but must use our unique creativity to create something that is our own. What a beautiful way to view writing. I agree with you though, that I wouldn’t generally categorize myself as a very creative person, and definitely not one who is in the same boat with painters or choreographers.

    I had a similar experience with the style shifting activity, in the sense that the paper that I chose for the activity did not exactly fit the style of the writer I was supposed to be mimicking. However, I too had a lot of fun with it. Because I feel like my writing style is a direct reflection of my personality, I struggle to let go of it. Yet, being forced to try something new was actually refreshing, and helped me to reflect and reconsider some of my own style choices.

    As for your Why I Write project, I also hope that you are able to re-ignite your passion for writing, and in reflecting, you can remember why you once loved to write even when you were not being forced to.

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