Style is everything

I hear about style virtually every day. As a writer and editor for the student newspaper, I have seen hundreds of different styles. That’s not a bad thing. Rather, it’s a way to distinguish yourself from every other writer.

Joan Didion was almost a match made in heaven for me. She has an aggressive, yet brilliant style that uses complex sentences to hide her imposing style. Simply put, she likes to give off her opinion, but does so in a masterful way that hides what could be an overbearing opinion. She also loves to to mix short and long sentences, while mixing in complex sentences. That is a very similar strategy to mine as Didion and I are both journalists. So by picking a feature story I wrote on Lawrence Marshall, a Michigan commit, the style masquerade activity wasn’t very challenging. Had it been a poet, it would’ve been another story. All I did for the style masquerade was add a few short sentences and added a sentence with em-dashes. However, in the future I hope to implement more of Didion’s style into mine.

On a totally different note, I have pondered a few ideas for the “Why I write” project. Growing up, I was slow to develop (this would be the focal point of the project) and wasn’t always passionate about school. I was put in lower levels than I thought I should’ve, so writing is a way to prove these people wrong and sense of pride. Secondly, I write for my job. Whether it’s here at the Daily or at a internship, writing stories is what I do and what I love. I get no bigger satisfaction than uncovering someone’s story and being the one to tell it. It’s really an indescribable feeling. I’ve always been a shy kid — not very vocal — so writing is a way to express yourself without having to talk. Plain and simple, I love to write. It comes natural to me and is therapeutic in a sense. Lastly, another idea I’ve pondered was how writing can be competitive. At the Daily, I have strict deadlines and meeting them is always a thrill. To the point, I love writing and there are many reasons I do it.


Jason Rubinstein

A half-Argentinean sports writer for The Michigan Daily. Previous intern at the New York Daily News. Siracha sauce enthusiast. Avid Chicago Sports fan. Once turned down a bid from AEPi.

3 thoughts to “Style is everything”

  1. It’s been interesting that you and many others have pointed out how genre is a great influence on style (or vice-versa?) It seems like most of what you consider your writing style is focused around journalism. I would be interested to know how much of that journalistic style you feel is preserved in a different genre of your writing, like an essay or this blog post.
    If genre influences style as suggested, is it possible that we each have different styles of writing?

  2. Thanks for the question. I’d say that much of what I learned while writing journalistically and the style I’ve taken on reflects in my other writing. Whether it be shorter sentences, paragraphs etc, it definitely translates to my other writing. As you may think, this is a good and bad thing. I often struggle when I am given a 7-page paper because I’m not used to writing that long of pieces. I think getting to the point and finishing. To your last question, it is 100% certain we all have different styles. No two writers are the same.

  3. I completely agree with what you said about writers and their styles – no two are the same and each writer’s style differentiates them from everyone else. I also love how honest you were about why you love to write so much. I’m with you in the sense that I often feel writing is the ultimate form of expressing myself – where I can finally get out what I truly think. It sounds like you’ve really found your passion in writing and journalism. It’s awesome that you’ve discovered something that you truly love so early and I’m sure if you follow that passion it will take you far in the profession and in life.

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