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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 February 13, 2019

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

“There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

happiness surrounding

    One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

    6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

    People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

    7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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    smile

      This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

      8. Happy people are passionate.

      Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

      9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

      Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

      10. Happy people live in the present.

      While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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      There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

      So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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