One of the fears many people have is that they aren’t a good enough writer – that others won’t want to read what they have written. What I have learned is that each of us has our own style. As time passes it changes, but remains essentially the same.
Some people tend to start with the basic information, and may go back later and add some details. Others include more descriptive language, beginning with the first draft.
I have permission from my older sisters to share their accounts of a trip they made to California with our dad. Pat was ten. Judy was about twelve and a half. Dad worked for TWA (Trans World Airlines – at one time called the Howard Hughes airline since he owned it for a number of years) and as children we traveled on passes, making it easier to visit family and friends halfway across the country. The plane they were in was propeller-powered, not a jet.
Mom gave them notebooks and a camera so they could record the high spots of their trip. Here are their reports on the flight out to California.
Pat: “Take off from K.C. Beautiful colors. Thanksgiving dinner. Sunset. First Star. Kitchen tour. Still sunset. Lovely evening. Cockpit tour very interesting. We just played dirty Eight. We just played Rummy. Resting now. Hostess just brought cookies. Snowing like everything. Ice on wings. 20,000 feet up. Just fastened seat belts, as we expect to hit rough going. Just saw Big Dipper. I have been watching airplane wing. It is beautiful with the white heat coming from the motors, the frost on the wing and the green light flicking on and off. Landing. Beautiful ride home. Ate piece of homemade cake.”
And now the beginning of Judy’s version: “The take-off. We sat in the front passenger compartment next to the pilot and crew. Dad introduced us to the crew. There was a student, and I watched him work a lot of push buttons, etc. The scenery is beautiful with trees spread out over vast spaces – and it looks like a patchwork quilt the way the grass is spread out. Dad is being our tour guide. We were served a most delicious dinner as on sketch below. We just saw the sunset. It was perfectly beautiful as it spread its reddish rays out over the sky. It was rather strange seeing it from up above. One of the hostesses took Patty and I through the galley. …”
Judy’s paragraph continues for another twenty lines, full of details, names and impressions. It ended with “When we arrived Uncle Chuck and Aunt Ferne met us. Since we were hungry when we got to their house, we had some homemade cake. When through, we went to bed.”
Each girl was sharing her version of a shared experience. They referred to many of the same events during the flight. Their way of describing the events varied. Neither way is better than the other. Each way will appeal more to a different audience.
Just because your natural style of writing isn’t the same as your favorite author does not mean there is not an audience for your writing.
The goal of writing is to share a message – sometimes directly, as when teaching a method of sales that has been successful for you – and other times indirectly, as when using stories to show how people from different backgrounds can and do get along with each other.
When your audience can clearly describe what they have gotten from your writing, you have been successful whether you use a matter-of-fact style of presentation or a descriptive style.
* * * * *
Not sure what your style is? Or if you even have a style? Use this link to schedule a time to talk, and let’s see if there are ways to get you moving forward again on your writing.