Let’s talk about style! Let’s leave out academic papers and in-office documents, which require special techniques. Let’s talk about everyday newspaper and magazine writing. Even before the great invention of online blog posts and press, personal writing style was of the essence.
I remember when I was taking my first steps in journalism, my brother told me that if I wanted to make a difference, I should adopt my own style. He was right! Suddenly, the only articles which had an impact on me were the ones with personal style.
What defines one’s writing style?
Today, the experts talk of personal and impersonal writing style. There is definitely a point there. When reporting breaking news, the personal feelings and thoughts of the author have no interest to the public. Although this is true and there is often a need for writers to choose whether they would write in a simple, direct language or use a formal impersonal style, their personal style cannot be disregarded altogether.
If you ask me, this is almost impossible. Whether you are called to write in a personal or impersonal way, your personal touch is still there. I am not talking about writing in the first or third person, expressing your own opinion or keeping a distance, but keeping your style.
Who doesn’t love style?
Whether writers like it or not, they have a style. Whether it is already developed or (literally) lost in translation is another question, but the style is there. One of the first rules for proper writing is to “know your audience.” Although this holds true I would argue the opposite: let your audience know you. Who said that a newspaper finance related article cannot be written in the writer’s personal style?
Make an experiment
1,000 different writers would write in 1,000 different styles. That’s what makes writing so interesting and what could make it intriguing. Journalists often use press releases to write news and online writers copy other writers’ styles to write an article. They miss out on all the fun! The problem is that the audience gets tired too.
It’s much more exciting for writers to use their special tone and style in order to convey a message. And it’s far more attractive for readers to go through sentences and paragraphs, which have a soul.
What makes an article perfect?
I personally like reading texts, which have a beginning, peak point, and an end. I like texts which make a point and have clarity, and truly envy (in the good sense) those with excellent knowledge of the language used. Although I like all these things and would congratulate an author who writes a complete article seen from different angles and perspectives, I would often be more attracted by the unique style of an article and reread it just to get a full grasp of the author’s personal tone.
In other words, I would vote in favor of style than perfection. After all, who is to say what truly makes a text perfect? If we exclude typos and syntax, isn’t an article full of surprises sentence after sentence a piece of art? Wouldn’t you read it if it’d make you laugh or cry? That’s what I call perfection!
So, go ahead writers of the world! Make your writing style recognizable!