How Your Writing Style Could Be Damaging Your Writing Process
By: Jonathan Veale
Writing styles like, speeches or public speaking, take on or should take on their own persona. This is after all how one writer, speaker or communicator is differentiated from another. Without an individual writing style how can writers connect with their own audience and establish a symbiotic relationship. A relationship where what the writer writes his audience wants to read and in a style that satisfies their needs.
Where do editors fit into this process? Editors don’t take prisoners, they delight in executions. They have a job to do. Writers have no idea how brutal their first exchange with such a beast is likely to be. Like ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, surely an unfortunate juxtaposition of terms, even considerate editors can make or break a timid writer in seconds. A top editor will never overstep the mark; mediocre ones frequently do.
Where’s all this leading? To the heart of most writers’ concern: ‘won’t my writing style’s individuality be high-jacked by even the finest of editors?’ The answer is – certainly not. No two writers express themselves in an identical way. The mannerisms are acquired in childhood, and only a psychiatrist with a perverse mind and literary talent would have the slimmest of chances of altering the essential voice of an individual.
Top editors never attempt to go against the grain of their writers. What they can do is point out where lazy or inappropriate writing habits obscure reason or reduce the impact of the topic they are intent on expressing. Writers should be communicators; if they have habits that reduce this ability then few readers will have the patience to stay with them and will never get to know the person behind the writing.
Beginners often exhibit timidity in expressing views. It’s as though they don’t wish to offend because they are still new to their trade. An apprentice carpenter on the other hand, when first handling a plane to skim off wood is more likely to take too much off than too little. But at least he makes an impression on the wood and learns by his mistakes. Writers should do the same. Go for it; seize the day; make cock-ups, offend the world; stuff the censor – if you don’t, who will?
A really good and considerate editor will encourage new writers to contribute articles and letters to the wider world. There are a number of ways in which a writer can practice and hone their skills by putting their writing into the public domain. Using a pen name is a great way to remain anonymous until the skills have been fine tuned and a niche has been identified. Testing the barriers doesn't necessarily mean you have expose your naked talent before it has been properly refined and targeted.
A word of caution however, certainly you can test your market and establish your style in this way, but don't procrastinate for too long and don't dismiss the idea of using an editor to help you establish your writing style. Otherwise that novel or specialist subject may never appear.
Writeaway provides help and advice on how to write and publish a book. You will also have access to a dedicated team of people who can provide a comprehensive book editing service having had personal experience of the book publishing process.
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