Achieving Our Personal Style

Style Gets Personal” says a headline on the cover of one of my favourite design magazines, “Canadian House and Home”. I smile because in my opinion style has always been personal. But as I thumb through the pages I realize that’s not entirely true. Sometimes we deliberately imitate someone else’s style because we like it. Perhaps we think it will suit us or our use of it will impress others. Maybe we adopt a style because we haven’t figured out our own.

In one of the articles Karen Von Hahn says, “Over the years I’ve opined on all things stylish for design panels, on television and radio, and now I even blog about it. But my own style, particularly that of my own home, is really my life’s work. It’s a crucial distinction, because that’s the thing about style: it’s a creative reflection of all the places you’ve been, the encounters you’ve had and the influences you’ve gathered along the way. It’s also your personal imprint, your particular point of view, which, at least in my case, is always evolving.”

Isn’t this also true when it comes to our writing style? Our “personal imprint” and “particular point of view” evolve as life changes us.  At the beginning we have trouble identifying our style, our voice. We start where we are, with what we have, fretting because we don’t have what it takes to create a distinctive effect.

I wonder if maybe it is through experience and discovery that we begin to recognize a unique style already exists, albeit one that will change as we mature.

If we hone our writing skills and combine them with simply being ourselves on the page, will our personal style emerge all on its own?

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10 thoughts on “Achieving Our Personal Style

  1. Laura Best says:

    I do believe that our experiences has a great deal to do with establishing our style since we become the people we are partly through these experiences. Giving ourselves freedom on the page will certainly help our style emerge. I’m inclined to think that, in the beginning, most of us are stiff. We haven’t flexed our creative muscles enough to make them supple. That comes with time and usage.

    Many writers do imitate style in the beginning until they find where they are most comfortable. It does take time, and anyone who is serious about their craft will give themselves the time they need in order for their style to emerge.

    • “Flexing the creative muscle” is a good description of the process. And so is “practice makes perfect.” We improve by continuing to write, so I guess it’s logical that our style will, too.

  2. Jody Hedlund says:

    Wow! Love the new look of your blog! I haven’t been over here since you changed it! It’s always fun to see the “imprint” of people on their blogs too. Our homes, blogs, writing–all are a unique reflection of who we are. Even though I may “borrow” ideas from others, ultimately I arrange and make them my own.

    • We are unique individuals so our environment, both the physical and writing ones, are bound to reveal something about us.

      Glad you like the new look. I thought it was time to freshen things up and liked the warmth of this design.

  3. Erica Vetsch says:

    I think you’re right that our personal style emerges when we are authentic. Just as we each have a unique fingerprint, we each have a unique experience to draw on when crafting fiction. Our style is identifiable and one of a kind. 🙂

    Love the new blog style.

  4. catwoods says:

    Without a doubt. Anyone who writes for any amount of time pours themselves–and their style–on to the page. It is who we are.

    • Well said, Cat. As my Wordsworth quote says, we “fill [our] paper with the breathings of [our] heart.” I think there’s something to what Carol B. says, though. Sometimes letting loose to be ourselves on the page is difficult.

  5. I think it takes time to feel comfortable with our writing. When I started writing fiction it was really difficult to write naturally. I’d written nonfiction, technical material for so long that everything I wrote sounded formal and dull. It may still, but I’m improving–I think.

    • I think you’ve hit on a good point, Carol. Much of my writing has been non-fiction and I write it in a different style. Stepping through the fiction doorway requires a different attitude… we have to relax, let our hair down and allow ourselves to be frivolous with words. You’ve given me an idea for another blog post!

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