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 here. Alright, 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.