In class we talked about taste and style, which gives me an idea of how I have developed my voice as a writer over the years. When it comes to choosing hairstyles or clothes, the majority of our class claimed to make a conscious choice not to stand out. This doesn’t mean that we don’t make an effort to maintain our appearance a certain way. Rather, we all look like what we guess others will look like, which takes a good amount of thinking and effort. This “average” appearance that we are all aiming for changes over time, which is why it is funny to look back at old photos, such as our parents’ yearbook photos from the 70s. The way that people dressed in the 1970s is very different than the way that people dress now, but that doesn’t mean that most people were trying to express a certain style. Actually, most people were trying to conform to their surroundings the best way they could. Of course, conformist people didn’t dress exactly the same as each other back then, as each person had a different interpretation of what “normal” was, leading to a slightly individualistic take on the general trends.
Relating to this idea, I think that my writing voice has evolved based on the context that I find myself writing in. As I haven’t written longform pieces that much for pleasure, the overwhelming majority of my writing has been for school assignments. My writing has changed a lot over time, but has always been driven by an effort to do the job at hand. Since I do a lot of nonfiction reading, my writing style and content is influenced by the topics and authors that I’m interested in at the moment.
In class we discussed four aspects which make up a writer’s voice: performance, or the way that the writing sounds when read out loud; theme/topic; personality; and formal markers, such as grammatical or sentence construction tics. Because I try to make my writing primarily functional, the way my work sounds changes based on the type of writing that I am doing, but stays as simple and concise as possible. The topic of my work, when I have a choice, is usually related to things that I am interested in outside of school. For example, in high school I wrote an essay about barefoot running after joining the cross country team and reading Born to Run. The personality of my writing probably comes off as overly serious and formal. In terms of formal markers, I use (and overuse) commas and parenthesis, and use words such as “probably” and “however” a lot.