We’ve made it, guys! It’s May, and we’re well into springtime here in West Virginia. It’s been an eventful weekend at Marcum Manor. On Friday, the hubs and I helped to move our son back from his freshman year at college. It was, overall, a successful year for him. He had a pretty good first season on his college swim team, made a whole team-full of new friends, and did reasonably good (for his first year of college) academic-wise. I’m super-proud of him; he loves his school, loves the town that he’s in while he’s away at school, and loves his academic program. I think, in the long run, he’s going to be successful in his college career. He’s done with his first year of college and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Ihave a child who is old enough to even be attending college. On top of that, he will be 19 at the end of this month, which means he’ll be in his last teenage year. This momma needs to come to terms with the fact that he’s not a child anymore – I’m the parent to an adult now.
Also, I finished up with my latest term of my MFA. I can’t even tell you what term I’m in…I’m just sorta rolling with it. All I know is that a week from tomorrow I’ll start another term, and I’m scheduled to graduate with my next degree in October 2022 (if I keep up my current pace and stay on track). I’m still waiting on grades, but I feel like I did well in my classes this time. I think I’m looking at A’s in both classes, so I’m super-happy about that. So far I’m glad I’ve made the decision to pursue this degree. I feel like when I’m done, I’ll have the knowledge I’ll need to take the next steps in a writing and teaching career, something that’s long been a dream of mine. Making that dream a reality has me a little awestruck, honestly.
So, on to the meat of the blog this week. Let’s talk a little bit about style. We’ve all got it, even if we don’t think we have. It’s also a very subjective concept; what a reader might initially consider a flaw in a piece might actually be the writer’s style, and sometimes, the writer’s style and the reader’s preferences don’t always mesh. That’s not a problem – as a writer you can’t please everyone all the time, and if you strive to do so, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
The wisest track to take is to write to your own preferences. Write a piece that you would like to read yourself. Your style as a writer comes out of who you are as a person. It’s a reflection of your experiences, your personality, your likes and dislikes – you – and it’s important to remain true to that. Much like your authorial voice (which we may cover in a future blog entry), it’s the distillation of what makes you who you are, and that is what makes your creations authentic.
I don’t think style is something you conscously choose, either. It’s something you sort of fall into as you become a writer. It comes out of learning how you create, what you like to create, and the reasons why you create. For a lot of us, writing is as essential as breathing; it’s part of the conditions for life. The development of writing style is an extension of that. Just like I can’t really control the color of my hair, I don’t have a whole lot of control over my writing style. Like my hair, I can dye it and make it all manner of crazy colors, but my hair is still blonde underneath it all. Same with style; I can dress it up make changes and try to get fancy with it, but down deep it’s still my style – and you know what? That’s okay.
It’s not up to me whether or not readers like or don’t like what I write – that’s a matter of personal taste, and it’s something I can’t change. All I can do is write from the heart, make every word count, and then make sure that the product I release out into the world is the absolute best I can make it – within the bounds of my personal style and voice. As long as I say what I want to say with my writing, there will be people who want to read it.
I guess my point is this – relax. Let it flow, write what you wanna write in the way you wanna write it. Learn good grammar and editing techniques, create a quality product, and you can’t fail. The ball is always in your court, so play that bitch with all your might, skill, heart, and soul.
That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Next week, I wanna do a little something special for you all, but I’m going to put the ball in your court this time. I’ve got a character sketch of the main protagonist of Mark of the Maker: Firebrand that I’m pretty happy with, and I’d like to share it with you all. I want to see if there’s interest, first, though. So, to that end, here’s what we’re going to do.
In honor of my son’s completion of his freshman year, leave me a comment below about your freshman year in college. Or, if you haven’t attended college, simply leave a memory from your education. Let’s keep it light – a good memory, something funny, or something you’re especially proud of.
If we make it to…let’s say five comments on the post, I’ll share the character sketch with you as a special treat next Sunday.
I look forward to hearing from you all this week! I hope you have a fabulous Sunday, and a FANTASTIC week to come!