Style Matters

Long before I started to write, I fell in love with dance. When I turned three I had my first dancing birthday party, and every subsequent year after that (until around 12 probably) I did the same. Dance relies on a choreographer’s style: there are only so many movements, but the choreographer’s decision about how to string them together is what makes meaningless movements into a meaningful dance. Writing works in the same way. I always knew style was important, but until this assignment I never really realized how much it can change writing.

I’ve always been told my style is “conversational.” According to my many English teachers throughout the years, “I write like I talk,” which is great until I get assigned a research paper or another form of academic writing. Being a writing tutor at Sweetland has definitely helped me adapt my style, as it allows me to read papers written by different students in different disciples, that all have their own style.

Rewriting a paragraph from my Sweetland writing tutor application in a George Orwell-esque style, I realized how wordy I can be sometimes. His writing is so clear and straightforward, I’d like to adopt that voice in some of my writing. Maybe my “Why I Write” assignment will be my first shot at it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the answer to “Why I Write,” and I’m still struggling to figure it out. I have no desire to be an author or a journalist, and I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of blogging. So why bother writing? I guess I  write because until time travel becomes a thing, it’s the only medium to put me in the past and the future. I write because I think it’s fun and I like when my writing makes people think. I also write because I think writing makes people smarter. I don’t know if all of these have equal bearing or if they’re good reasons at all, but hopefully this next assignment will help me figure it out.

2 thoughts to “Style Matters”

  1. Emily. Really thoughtful and interesting post here. I really appreciated how you admitted you were stuck on one style, but felt the need to adapt. I feel the same way. As a journalist, my style is often very limited to AP style and I get caught up in that. However, I too, enjoy being conversational and also showing off some of my soft side in more visual writing. Whatever the case, it’s important that a writer knows their style is limitless and it’s great that you understand that. Lastly, I know that you read George Orwell, and am not saying you will, but don’t just use his style. Take what you like from him and fuse that into your style.

  2. Emily – really good post. I think I also write in a sort of “conversational” tone sometimes, especially through blog posts, and I often have to remind myself when I’m writing a paper or something to kind of switch modes into academic writing. I found it pretty interesting when you admitted that you were “struggling” to figure out why you write, but then listed off three really fantastic reasons for exactly that. I made me think when you said writing puts us in the past and future (which I guess speaks to your second point about making people think). I recently went back and read some of my writing from about fourth grade and it was amazing how I could go back and remember things I hadn’t thought about in over a decade. Writing can absolutely bridge the gap between our past and for future generations.

Leave a Reply