I thought it was really interesting to go back and examine/analyze my style of writing for this blog from not only a recent essay, but comparatively to my first year of undergrad. I began by looking at a paper I wrote in English 325 this summer semester, an investigative paper on why much of the world has become so obsessed with celebrities, and the British Royal Family in particular (I am obsessed with Will, Kate, and baby George!). I feel like my style for this paper shows how far I’ve come in my academic writing over the past two years, and the growth is something that I appreciate.
All throughout high school and even during my freshman year, I wrote with the intention to make a point and use as many big words or cited examples as possible to “persuade” my audience and sound sophisticated. To this day, I always sit down and map out what I want to say and with what examples I will use to support those claims in an outline for essays. It helps me to organize my ideas and basically reassures me that the paper will flow and make sense. I’m also the type of person that has to write my essay in order from start to finish — I can’t skip the introduction and come back to write it later because I use the introduction to help set my tone and structure for my thoughts. This can be helpful, but incredibly irritating at times.
As far as style goes, I notice that even today I am EXTREMELY verbose. I also use lots of punctuation that is really hard to follow, and especially in workshop groups I am often called out on it. I think that at times I still equate wordiness to sophistication, which I know does not correlate. Lots of times (okay, majority of the time) much of that punctuation could be deleted and my sentences cut up into nice, easy to follow thoughts, but I find myself stubborn when faced with breaking down my writing and wording it differently — which is something I really want to work on. I tend to just lead into topic sentences and thought with broad, generic phrases like “in the world…” or “it is widely known…”, which I usually fall back on, and which make my argument much weaker because of their lack of specificity. Also, much like Rosenwasser and Stephen talk about in this week’s reading, my sentences also neatly wrap up at the end of each paragraph, most likely using the words “thus,” “as far as…” and “as a result…”, which could be changed up a bit to add a little stylistic diversity.
From freshman year to this summer though, the difference in seeing my attempts to add a bit of creative prose into my essays has definitely come a long way. Before, I was very uncomfortable using “I” or anything personal in my essays for fear of sounding narcissistic or unprofessional. I have found however, that this style can help connect to the audience and bring an essay some life. It’s something I’d like to explore more of stylistically, both balancing the personal with the academic, as well as developing more of a voice and tone in general in my writing, to avoid just blending in to the topic.