Monday, January 18, 2010

Writing Style and Blogging

I’m bored out of my mind with my current writing style here. It’s too … stuffy and it’s really not me. What brought this home to me was writing an email to a friend – my tone of writing was totally different. You know, it was a chatty, cheerful kinda email, with a good dose of b*tchiness, which, in my opinion at any rate, is always fun. It’s also more me.

So this led me to ask “ What’s stopping me from writing like this on my blog?” “What’s been holding me back?” Basically: Why can’t I blog like this? Here comes the answer:

- Microsoft Word: yup, I’m blaming my writing style on a computer programme. You gotta admit: I’m good at coming up with excuses. ;) but seriously, the spelling and grammar check thingy, especially the grammar checking part of it, questions how I write things, which makes me second-guess myself and sometimes (umm… read: 95% of the time) I wind up changing stuff. Which is stupid. Because it’s not like I’m gunning for the Nobel Prize for Literature with this blog. Or with anything I write, for that matter.

- The Dictionary and Thesaurus: this duo are a pair of creeps. They act like they’re your best friends and lull you into a false sense of confidence by helping you out when you need them, but then before you know it – bam – you’re overly dependant on them to provide you with precisely the right word. Because God forbid you should use the ‘wrong’ one, or worse: the same word more than once.

- My Primary School Teacher, Mrs. H: this is probably the most justifiable of all these reasons/excuses, even though I haven’t seen her for, oh, a mere 18 years or so. The thing is, I loved writing when I was 6. Honestly, I’d write 2-3 page stories with love – and that’s a lot for a 6 year old. But she made such a fuss out of my bad spelling, to the point that my parents got me a dictionary and I had to bring it to school at Mrs. H’s insistence. Every. Single. Day. (Yeah, I may have some issues now.) The result of this is that I began to associate writing with stress. I was good at maths, I was good at reading, I was pretty much average to good at everything else – writing included – but I got it into my head that I wasn’t good at languages. Please note, that I was raised in a bilingual household, so clearly I don’t have issues with languages. Anyways, it wasn’t until high school (I’m bowing to the American terminology here – I know if I write college you’ll be thinking uni, and these details are sooooooo important you know) that I realised that I was actually kinda good at writing. But then it was too late – I had dropped English like a hot brick when I was 16 and any writing I did after that was due to necessity.
But I still have it in my head that writing is not my forte, which leads me to my next reason for my boring writing style:

- I imitate other writer’s styles. Yeah, I’m like that American bird – what’s it called? Oh yeah, a Mockingbird. Only it’s just my writing, it doesn’t happen so much with speaking (although I do absorb other people’s accents, which is just plain weird), and certainly not singing, cause I can’t sing for love nor money. To make this worse, some of my favourite books are classics (my favourite author is Jane Austen), so my writing style is an attempt at a 21st Century imitation of a 19th Century literary genius. I’m doomed.

So now I’m gonna stop using Microsoft Word grammar checker, quit using the Dictionary & Thesaurus (if the word’s not in my head then it’s not mine and it won’t express me very well), I’ll try to write every day (don’t worry: I won’t post all the crap I do write, it’s just a practice makes perfect sort of thing) and I’m going to try to write these blog posts as if they were emails to a friend. My best friend. Except without the “hi” or “love Sarah xxx”.

Lets see how long this lasts.


  1. Some days I feel like I really hit the nail on the head with a blog post and it's SO ME. Other days, not so much.

    Spelling and grammar errors drive me nuts though. I HATE finding them after I've already published a post!

  2. I feel the same way - sometimes i feel like my personality comes through in my blog, but sometimes I feel like it doesn't. I think the tough thing for me is that I can be really sarcastic, but if you don't know me that well, it can come off the wrong way... So I kind of avoid being too sarcastic! And then it doesn't feel like me! Something i am working on and as my readers get to know me better, I think I will start to sound more like 'me' in my posts... i hope...

  3. Thanks - I thought it was just me! It's nice to know that other people sometimes feel the same way.
    Amber: I hate finding errors, too, so I read through a post before I put it in. Just to be sure, to be sure.
    Lisa: I worry about whether or not my sense of humour will come across in my writing too. In person I can come across as too b*tchy, never mind writing!