Up until this point, I can’t say I’ve ever had to take an introspective look at my writing style. From my own observations, I’ve noticed that I tend to gravitate toward a certain formulaic structure (depending on the style) when I write. In addition, I plan sentences out in my head before I write them down. I sort of “hear” them being read before I write them down. That being said, it’s a bit challenging for me to alter a sentence, phrase, or word once I hear it in my head. I notice myself utilizing the services of the wondrous thesaurus.com for when I accidentally re-use a word and it sounds weird to double it in a sentence (side note: I regularly read what I’m writing out loud to myself as I’m writing it, which can come off as a little neurotic). Overall, I have a very established way of writing in the sense that I’ve been writing the same way for a long time, with the exception of learning new writing do’s and don’ts.
My go-to sentence structure is generally something containing a lot of appositives and moveable parts. I like having the option of rearranging within my sentences, but rarely do it for fear of it sounding weirder than it did in my previously imagined model. I’ve noticed recently that I tend to use a lot of commas and parentheses so as to include more information within each sentence. I also type the way I talk: planting punctuation marks where I would pause to take a breath or change the inflection of my voice.
As far as diction goes, I’ve had the style “rules” that Rosenwasser and Steven unravel in their style chapters drilled into my all through high school. When I was a senior, we actually took a class period during the first week to establish a class list of writing rules, such as “never start a sentence with ‘And'” and “always follow ‘this’ with a noun.” Since then, I’ve been closely monitoring my writing (while in the process of writing, as mentioned before) to make sure I’m following all of the rules I’ve been taught were important for “good” writing. I avoid using absolutes, abhor the use of first person in a formal essay, and never disguise a thesis.
In terms of tone, I waver along the professional-conversational depending on the context of the piece I’m writing. For example, if I’m writing an academic paper I lean toward scholarly words and complex sentences; however, if I’m trying to appeal to someone’s experience or feelings, I lean toward more personable and relatable (such as in my application letter for this minor and the college essay that got me into the University of Michigan).
Because I keep track of my writing so closely while I’m writing something, it’s hard for me to necessarily pin down my “go-to’s.” I can, however, identify my own habits and track patterns of what I do while I’m writing.