What Does My Writing Look Like?

“Some say, despite this overwhelming evidence, that the income and wealth disparities do not matter as long as GDP continues to grow, but this does not take into account that this inequality threatens the fundamental incentive structure that drives our economy; when workers do not have the opportunity to move up the socio-economic ladder, there is little reason for them to invest in their future with higher education, and therefore they will not have the opportunity to advance in our economy.”

This is an excerpt from a recent paper that I wrote about income inequality in America. Though this particular sentence is slightly long-winded for me, it does give a pretty accurate representation of my writing in terms of shape and diction. This sentence seems to be compound-complex, which is fairly common for my papers because I feel that, as long as my wording is accurate, this style can really illuminate the subject matter. I am very aware of the stigma associated with the use of semi-colons, but I use them reasonably frequently because it gives me an opportunity to further explain my theses in a way that flows more easily than a period would.

In terms of diction, I have noticed that my wording can often be vague, but at the same time vague can be relatable to certain audiences and in certain media. For example, in news media you may find specific details about conflict in Syria but you won’t find sentences like, “Their eyes flickered the mirror image of the incendiary rebellion that raged before them.” This sentence does give me a picture of the conflict in Syria, but it’s imagery is melodramatic to the point of discrediting the author. This is possibly the fine line I am trying to walk as a writer: I want accurate argumentative style and reporting, yet I appreciate the stylistic choices of creative fiction. I just don’t know how to reconcile the two.

2 thoughts to “What Does My Writing Look Like?”

  1. I like that you’ve brought this up, the tug-of-war between a creative and an argumentative approach to your writing. I think you describe a common ‘demon,’ to borrow Orwell’s idea, that most of us developing writers face. Because we write within so many different disciplines (I find myself everywhere from current events to personal narratives to emails), I think feeling lost stylistically is only natural sometimes. And as writers, we face this compulsion to fuss about our words and semi-colons and voices; we can’t always just write.

    An exhausting battle is what the student-writer’s experience becomes, as he voyages across new writing territory. He is exhausted not simply by the MLA formatting of his history class analysis or the complexity of his philosophy class writing prompt. But he is exhausted because, before he writes, he must first break up the fight between vagueness and detail, between ‘flow’ and grammar rules.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective and for provoking my thoughts. You have helped me to understand your writing experience and deepened my aptitude to examine my own.

  2. You focused very well on one specific aspect that you are troubled with in your writing style. Walking the fine line between reporting accurately and writing creatively. Both ways give details and facts of an event, but in very different manners, therefore giving a very different perspective for the audience.

    I think, in this type of situation, it is important to understand the context for which you are writing. In another class of mine, we are studying creative non-fiction and learning that small details and facts do not necessarily need to be portrayed and true, so long as you are producing the “emotional truth” in the overall story.

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