Chasing After Style

I’ve never actually stopped to question why I write, beyond the common observation that I just have to get the words down on paper and out of my head. It’s much more often that I find myself questioning the format in which these words spew onto the page, or even into my head. It wasn’t until I read George Orwell’s “Why I Write” that I realized that the two were quite nearly the same question. Orwell “find[s] that by the time you have perfected any style of writing, you have always outgrown it.” At first I thought that this statement simply could not be true. Many writers are known and idolized for their style. I, as many young writers do, find myself emulating whoever’s work I’ve most recently read. But, as I thought about it more, I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing, or how many people read your work; you’re always striving towards perfection and there’s always something you wish you could change. Every piece of writing is experimentation and I don’t think Orwell’s statement has to be a pessimistic view. I’d like to interpret it as this: every time you successfully complete a piece of writing, you’ve reached tremendous strides as a writer. Perfecting the piece makes you better and you have one more piece of experience to define  yourself  as  a writer. Thus, as we continuously chase after style, we are constantly growing above and beyond it.

Julia Smith

I am, like everyone else, a list of identities. I am a college student, a writer, a reader, a soccer fan, a worrier, both independent and dependent, a friend, a sister, organized until lack of time prevails, a leader, a follower, fond of sleep and bad at getting it, an amateur artist, a thinker, a collector and just your overall observer of the world we live in.

2 thoughts to “Chasing After Style”

  1. Julia,
    I really really loved the quote from Orwell that you chose! It’s a passage that really struck me as well. However, I think the first time I read it I took it as almost a negative statement, like he was telling writers:
    You Will Never Be Good Enough for Yourself.
    I really liked reading the positive way that you interpreted his statement. It inspired me to chase after my own personal style instead of being discouraged.
    Thanks for sharing!
    xoxox The Other Julia

  2. Julia,
    This was one of the passages that I found particularly interesting from the piece as well, and interpreted it similarly . This is especially true in today’s context, with having to be not only an exceptional writer, but also realistically needing to have some digital skill as well. It’s also redefining what being a “writer” is. But I totally agree that constant redefinition is the sign of a great writer, and being able to do it in different ways will only make you that much better.

    Eli

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