A unique artistic style is something of a mystery. You can hear a few measures of music and recognize immediately you are listening to Beethoven. You can read a few lines of text and recognize immediately the author is Shakespeare.
What is it that gives great artists a unique, instantly identifiable style?
I don’t know exactly, but will offer a few ideas momentarily. What I do know for sure is, a unique writing style makes for a valuable and always employable business writer.
Almost all business writing suffers from one glaring problem: lead-killing blandness. Whether the company’s objective is to educate or persuade prospects, boring content can only put prospects to sleep or drive them away. Develop a unique style, and a writer will turn sleepy, skeptical prospects into solid sales leads.
To develop a unique style, here are things that should help.
- Read. All great writers steal. By reading established, successful writers, you will pick up techniques to put punch into your work. You may be impressed with one writer’s wit, and another’s vocabulary, phrasing, etc., and then incorporate these elements into your style. Use what you like — follow your instincts.
- Read selectively and intensely. Once you identify writers you admire and want to emulate, read everything you can get your hands on. Eventually you will become so familiar with their styles that you can incorporate them — with your personal stamp — into everything you write without even thinking about it. At the same time, avoid reading garbage — it will clutter your mind and pollute your composition.
- Study. Doctors go to medical school. Lawyers go to law school. You’re a professional writer: Where do you go? Take a creative writing class or attend lectures and seminars — there you will learn proven techniques to elevate your game to a truly professional level. Hone your talent.
- Write. Practice makes perfect. Write a short story. Keep a diary. Launch a personal blog. How about this: Write letters. Practice and repetition, always with an eye on style, will smooth the rough edges and turn a vague style into a sharp one.
Once you have made progress toward developing that sharp, unique style, you will find it easier to develop multiple styles — an incredible asset for an agency writer or freelancer.
This sounds counterintuitive, but think about it. If you have no style at all, how can you change it? On the other hand, if you have a definite style, you know how to alter it in a consistent way to achieve a different style.
So, if you are in a job that requires you to write for a dental practice one day and a brick factory the next, you will have the ability to change gears in a heartbeat and satisfy both clients. You’ll never be looking for work — it will find you.
Over to You
What are your thoughts about how to develop a unique writing style? What has worked for you?