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Writing Tip: Develop Your Style

Writing Tip: Develop Your Style
Writing Style

The thing people will remember about what you write isn’t the concepts behind your work. When you read a story, it’s not the characters or the plot that really defines your enjoyment of the tale. No: the most important part of writing is the way in which you write – your style. You can have a marvelous concept for a piece, try to put it to paper, and still have it fall apart as you proceed. On the other hand, you can take a monotonous idea, one that’s been used to death, and still create a masterpiece. The difference between great – or at the very least, good – writing and poor copywork has all to do with your individual style.

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Developing your style isn’t something you can follow a strict set of rules for. There’s no one “right” style; your own style is really just a compilation of the things you’re comfortable writing about and methods you use to write. Some people have a very flowery, flowing writing style. Others write in short bursts of thought and focus entirely on the main points of what they write. You could be either, or – most likely – you fall somewhere in between with your style. What matters isn’t learning a style, but finding your own style and developing it.

Though there’s no one definitive guide to mastering a style, here are a few tips that might help you along.

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Most people write in the same way they talk. People who don’t use big words while talking to their friends tend not to use big words when they write. Sarcastic people are more prone to writing sarcastically. It’s not always exact, but if you try to write in a drastically different tone of voice than you speak in, there’s a greater chance of your writing sounding hashed-up and not genuine. Try reading what you write aloud once in a while: does it feel comfortable speaking it? If not, try to figure out how to write it in the manner you would normally speak.

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Don’t write about things you don’t know about. If you try to write about political drama, for instance, without having been involved in political affairs (or the equivalent, even if it’s something like student government in college), there’s a chance that you will sound either forced or just completely infactual. Writers who handle complex, detailed worlds they’re not familiar with tend to familiarize themselves with what they’re writing about before they begin writing. (Tom Clancy comes to mind here.) If you aren’t comfortable with what you’re writing, it will show clearly in your writing style.

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Likewise, if you don’t feel good with particular techniques, avoid them. A popular essay-writing method involves providing a contrary argument to a subject, followed by a counterargument. While it’s a useful technique, and one that adds credibility to your thesis, too many writers try just sticking out an argument, then rehashing the same facts they have already presented, which seems unorganized rather than effective. Similarly, quite a few creative writers tend to borrow from popular authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien or Douglas Adams, emulating them rather than using their techniques along with others. Often, the end result is a work that appears derivative, rather than a story that can stand on its own.

Developing a style is all about familiarity. If you focus on what you know, and if you try to write in the manner that you feel most comfortable rather than copying others, you should have no problem developing a unique style that others can recognize and enjoy as your own.

Rory Marinich is a graduate of the New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts. Some of his writing can be found online here.

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

Think you have a boring life?

The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

2. Go Play with Kids

Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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3. Order a Hot Dog

While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

This will give you something to look forward to.

Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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13. People Watch

Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

People are infinitely interesting.

14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

15. Dance

You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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