I write like a smartass: it always seems as if I’m trying to sound smarter than I am. I hesitate to label my style of writing as pretentious, because it can’t be if I’m not actually trying to be pretend to be anything. I just happen to come across that way.
It all stems from years of writing formal essays. It’s been drilled into me that I should never write in the first person, and to get around that I use infinitive and past tense verbs more often than any normal person would in speech, giving everything I write an uppity intellectual feel, even when it’s not meant to be either of these things.
This particular disposition I have towards stilted writing makes the conveying of any sort of personality a real challenge. I aim to write in a way that shows that I’ve thought about my topic logically, meaning that the attitude I take in any given work will often reflect a small sense of cynicism or doubt concerning the subject at hand, for I believe not fully believing the argument you are trying to make is the most successful way to make it. This attitude can only be described as “relatable.” It is always my goal to sound simply like a person speaking, rather than a finely-tuned and carefully constructed statement.
My performance is the part of my writing that I, at the same time, care the most about and think the least about. I’ve long thought that good writing ought to sound in the reader’s head like the opening narration to a movie narrated by the adult version of its young protagonist. Or like a story told by a vocally flatlined author on NPR, the words themselves creating their own lyrical depth and fostering their own execution, standing on their own and speaking for themselves rather than acting as just a piece of a puzzled performance. I say that I think the least about this aspect of my writing because even though I have clearly thought about it quite a bit, it is the part of my writing that I believe to be the most genuine, the most instinctual.
In discovering the way that I write that is most instinctual, I also discover the topic of what I write that is most instinctual as well: myself. I find that introspection is incredible because it is both highly informed and grossly misinformed at the same time. Few subjects have as much digging room as the self, a fact which affords a writer endless dynamic material. It’s as if the reader and I are discovering myself at the very same time.

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