blogging

Finding Your Writing Style & Process

April 29, 2015

I love learning about other bloggers’ writing styles and process… where they get their inspiration from, why they write the way they do, etc. It’s so interesting to learn about the process of things and how it can differ from person to person, so I thought I’d share some of my blogging process with you all today, as well as a deeper look into my writing style (from my perspective).I very rarely approach a new blog post with “structure” in the forefront of my mind. Instead, I literally write down my jumbled thoughts on the topic I know I want to write about… almost like if I was having a conversation with someone. Sometimes it’s parts of phrases, other times it’s an entire paragraph, but it’s exactly what I would verbally say if I were talking to someone about the topic (minus quite a few “I mean”‘s and “Like”‘s haha.) Once I get all of my thoughts out – and they are most always a jumbled mess – I cut and paste and refine until it makes sense as an entire post or read. This is one of the reasons I write the majority of what I do on my computer and not in a journal. If you were to look in my journal where I keep all of my novel notes, you would see sentences and paragraphs of ideas or parts of the book and then a ton of arrows, showing where I would want each sentence and paragraph to go… bringing order to the chaos 😉 Sounds messy, right? Well it’s the only way I can get out all of my thoughts, without forgetting any of them. Even if I don’t end up sharing all of them, there is less panic over having forgotten something I really wanted to say.

I have always loved to write, for as long as I can remember. When I got into high school, after years of having teachers trying to change and “perfect” my writing style, I finally had a teacher who embraced and encouraged my process. For so long, I had English/Lit teachers trying to tell me I needed to approach my writing with the order of the Introduction, Supporting Paragraphs, and Summary Paragraph in mind. Then, one year, I was gifted a teacher who knew that I would eventually get to the order, but that there was still much importance in the chaos. (She literally said this to me one day after class – “There is much importance in the chaos.” I have never forgotten this.) It was the first time in my writing life my mind felt free to be, and my writing truly flowed. It was also in that time I fell more in love with writing, all because a teacher encouraged me to believe in my own creative process. (She was also known to be the “complete kook” in school, and this was also why I loved her so much. She threw caution to the wind and made ‘that place’ a safe place for the rest of us trying to find our way too.)

I don’t consciously think about my process or style as I’m writing, only that it’s important to me that my voice always comes through with each sentence. While the order of a post is important to me before hitting ‘publish,’ getting out all of my thoughts will always be top priority. (This is most likely why writing poems or lyrics to songs is really difficult for me – sharing my thoughts and feelings has to come before the order is given, not the other way around. It’s hard for me to make something rhyme simply because it’s supposed to, if the alternate rhyming word doesn’t actually make as much sense as the original non-rhyming word.) Have I confused you enough yet? Welcome to my brain 😉 While there are many sites dedicated to defining all of the different writing styles, I will tell you- I have stayed away from going back and reading them because I personally just want to write the way my brain and heart tell me to write. BUT – if you are interested in learning more about which of the categories you might fall under, you can find a few of those articles here and hereAlright, so how do you begin to find your own writing style and process?

Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Rule Number 1: There Are No Rules. I’m not saying you should forget everything you ever learned in your writing or English classes, but when it comes to your process – remember, it’s your process. Readers don’t know (and don’t need to know) how you got to your completed post so whether it’s an unstructured or more structured approach – whichever way feels easier to breathe in is what you should keep going with. And don’t forget: there is importance even in the chaos 😉
  • Just Write. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I have shared this Hemingway quote a number of times on this space; there really is something to not overthinking it, just sitting down and writing words, thoughts, even broken sentences. Your voice can be found in all of those things; sometimes we just need to do it and you will find the path while doing so. If I’m feeling particularly uninspired before writing, I’ll open up a book of some of my favorite poems, head over to my quote or photography Pinterest boards, listen to some of my favorite writing songs, or go for a long walk. (Seriously, what is it about the minute I’m away from my computer or a pen and paper that I think of a million things I want to write about?)
  • Find Your Voice.  What do you want to say and how would you normally say it? Your writing style is essentially your voice. My family and best friends would all tell you I write just how I talk, and that makes me feel good because I always want this space to reflect who I am. I’ll even proofread my posts sometimes by reading them out loud to myself… if it doesn’t sound like something I would say aloud, then I know I still have some work to do.
  • Say YES to the (Ongoing) Journey. While I think you can definitely get to a point where you’re comfortable in your own process, I also think the writing process and style – perfecting your voice – is ongoing. And it should be that way, shouldn’t it? I hope this adventure is ever evolving just as I hope as a person I am ever evolving.
  • Do You. “You do you” is a well-known saying in blogland and I think it’s so important to remember that throughout this entire journey. Your writing style and process do not have to look or sound just like someone else’s simply because you really like their blog or style. I read a number of blogs regularly, all of which have very different writing styles – from each other and from my own. Why do I keep coming back to them? Because the blogger’s voice is clear,  which sets them apart from anyone else. Stay true to yourself and it will come through in your writing. If you don’t feel free in your writing, you are most likely pushing yourself to write in a way that is not true to yourself.

 

What does your writing process look like? 

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  • Natalie

    When I write, I just wing it! LOL
    Great post my dear 🙂

  • Hate that I can't join this time! Your writing style is nearly identical to mine. One thing I struggle with is breaking out of the rigidity of my trained writing skills. I love reading posts that are less formal, and strive for that myself! I always love your writing; you have such a beautiful way with words.

  • Oooh I already have plans this Sunday but would LOVE to join in on any of the other topics! And I love reading your writing – I follow it very well, maybe because that's how my journals look too?!

  • I just can't get over my love for you! <3

  • Great suggestion about reading your post aloud. I should do that sometime.

    It took me at least 9 months to even start discovering my writing style. I have to try new things to figure out what works for me. Writing has never been my strength so my blog is more heavily weighted in photos and other forms of media. That's how I feel most comfortable expressing myself.

    Really cool idea about the Google Hangout! Will there be more availability in the coming months?

    V

  • Love this! I love learning other people's processes, it helps me to figure out some of my own!

  • These are my favorite posts to read. You and I still need to talk writing someday 🙂

  • I agree with the other comments, I love your writing style. It's clear to your readers that you pour your heart and soul into the content that you publish on Ember Grey, not sure typing something up the morning of just to get a post up 🙂

  • I can't wait!!!

  • Love this, I also will write without thinking about the structure or grammar, it helps me get my thoughts out quickly before I forget what it was I wanted to say!

  • So excited for this….and you are perfect for talking about this topic! Can't wait to pick your brain!

  • My writing style is similar to yours. Sometimes I already know the structure in my head, but usually I just need to get everything out. A lot of times I find that I'm repeating myself over and over again. Usually that's because I think my brain is trying to process the best way to say something (also I think I repeat myself a lot in real life…ha!).

    It's great that you head a teacher in your life that encouraged you and your process. I actually had the exact opposite and it prevented me from writing for years. I'm just now rediscovering my voice.

    I also find that I if I just start writing whatever is on my mind, I may find I've given myself 2-3 different blog posts to expand on.

  • i love learning about other people's processes too! sounds like you've got yours down and is working for your head and more importantly your heart! love that you ladies are getting together, bummed i'm busy on sunday but hopefully there's another spot another time 🙂

  • I've never been good about journaling with pen and paper. I hate my handwriting and I'm not the best speller so I just get frustrated that I can't erase. haha. I think that's why I picked up internet blogging even back in HS.

  • Hey, whatever works!!! 🙂

  • Hopefully next time, Lindsay!! You know what's funny about the whole formality thing though is that I'm like you and would love to break away a bit (although with all of my "…..'s" I'm quickly on my way, but every time I read a blog post that uses no capitalization, it's so hard for me to read!

    Thank you, Linds! 🙂

  • Yes! I hope you're able to join in one of these months… it's such a fun group and we learn so much from each other.

  • oh, Christine. You make me smile 🙂

  • V, I LOVE your photos and I think you're way too hard on yourself with your writing! I love reading your posts, especially about your travel adventures.

    Every month varies.. it just depends on how many of us are able to make it or not. I wish Google Hangouts allowed more than 10 people!

  • Same, Carissa!!

  • We do, Nina!! We definitely will!

  • Thank you, Kerri! 🙂

  • Exactly! My brain is the type where once it's gone, it's gone haha 😉

  • I'm excited to hear from all of you guys too – more about your process, etc!

  • haha! Yes, I have been known to scrap entire pieces of paper and start completely over because there was a misspelling or a scribble/strike-thru and it no longer looked neat.

  • "Sometimes I already know the structure in my head, but usually I just need to get everything out." – absolutely, this is me a lot of the time. I'm sorry you had such rotten teachers, Diana! That's really too bad but I'm glad to hear you're fighting to find your way!

  • I hope you get to sign up one of these months, Chelsea! We have so much fun and always come away from the hangouts with great tips and post inspiration!

  • I definitely write better when I take a pen to paper. It allows me to just write, messily.

  • Kristen

    For me, journaling is very personal. It is where my mind and heart just sort of bleed out onto the pages, without holding back. In other words, there are no reigns. For the blog, I try to keep my voice & my style, but maintain the general purpose of the blog: family, parenthood, home life, self-care. I like to think of it as journaling equals personal and blogging equals professional (sort of.)

  • I love hearing about other writer's processes. I have not had a process as of late. Feeling like all I do is write about my kids, but I guess that's just my season! 🙂 I think at this point in my life, my blog is a journal for my family to have to look back and remember the events that we've been through together….unless I start feeling super inspired again (maybe that's another season?!?). But I always look forward to reading your blog. Even if I don;t always comment, it's encouraging to me and I love hearing your heart through this space.

  • Kim Jones

    Sooo, i think we might be twins. Not sure but maybe. Honestly love the encouragement you gave me that my non style style is ok. I just sit and work it all out on paper. I don't consider myself a writer and have never thought of myself as one. Blogging is so forgiving and i am eternally grateful for that. So glad there are no teachers to grade my paper. Going to enter the copter cause i would love to talk with you guys and gleam from your experience and wisdom. Thanks friend!

  • There is definitely something raw & real about the pen to paper!

  • Yep, I totally understand what you're saying and agree. I rarely share my journal entries on here or with anyone, for that matter.

  • I love your season, Amy!!! 🙂 I can't wait to write about those things and then to be in the season where I read back over them. Thank you for your kind words 🙂 That means a lot to me. xo

  • haha! Non style style is definitely ok 🙂 And I always say, you write = writer. Own it, lady. It's whatever you want it to be. Thank you for this note! Have a great weekend!

  • I'm always so paranoid that I might hit "publish" instead of save draft on my posts in progress, because they would be so confusing in draft form. As I write, I just basically word vomit out everything as it comes to me and it's a jumbled mess. I type so fast and so poorly that there are spelling and grammatical errors like craaazy, and there's no structure. Then when it's all out, I go back and fix my errors, add some transitions, an intro, refine my word choices and just smooth it out. I think my process is similar to yours, but probably a little messier haha. Thanks for this hangout! May I ask who's hosting the next one?

  • ha! Amanda, I always worry about that too – that I'll hit "publish" instead of save or preview. (I've "only" done it once, ugh!) I love knowing that you have a very similar writing process… I always wonder if it takes me longer than it does other people (not that it matters, but it does tend to take me awhile to complete one post sometimes).

    June's host is Cassie from Sage! 🙂

  • I've so been in a rut with writing which is the main thing I really want to share on my blog…it has all come down to time lately. We have been so busy and I have a thousand and one ideas all jumbled up and rolling around in my brain and no time to actually sit down and focus. Summer will be here soon…and hopefully I will be able to make sense of all these jumbled pieces of scratch paper I have everywhere!

  • I truly hear you… I'm struggling with the balance of blogging/life right now too and I have a feeling summer is only going to make it that much crazier. The great news is that we'll all be here no matter how often we post or not 🙂

  • Thanks Emily!