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Find Your Uniqueness As A Writer
Why Is Uniqueness Important?
It’s a valid question for writers to ask. Why is it important that you be unique in your writing?
There are some writers who simply write recipe articles, and others who simply write how-to articles. Is it really necessary for them to have a unique style? All they are trying to do is impart information to the reading public and increase their views along the way. Why should they concern themselves with being different from all the rest of the recipe writers and do-it-yourself writers?
There are others who put all their time and effort into self-publishing ebooks, churning out volume after volume in a never-ending display of Kindle fodder, selling a few here and a few there, racking up the dollars by the sheer volume of their work. Do they really need to be unique?
There is a very real chance that the answer is no. In today’s world of instant gratification, quite often quality and individuality are highly overrated. People (prospective readers) simply want information and they want it as quickly as possible; they really could care less if the writer has gone the extra mile to develop a signature style that is solely theirs.
All I can say to those writers is my old dinosaur belief: quality will always be rewarded. Making an extra effort can never be a bad thing if one is a practitioner of the Arts.
So this article is written mainly for those writers who concern themselves with such things as becoming the best that they can be; this article is for those of you who have long-range goals that include majestic mountains rather than insignificant hills.
Let’s Turn Our Attention, Then, to Writing Style
In the world of writing, your writing style is a bit different from your writer’s voice, and they are both a bit difficult to define. In fact, several definitions for style include the word voice in them.
Let’s simplify, and hopefully not oversimplify, by saying that a writer’s style is what makes him or her different from other writers. It is your own personal brand, a reflection of you, so we can begin with the assumption that since we are all different then our writing must be different as well, right?
Well, yes and no. There is no doubt that we all write differently. We all take those 75,000 words and intermix them with our emotions and experiences and end up with something at least approaching unique…..but…..
In the case of writing a recipe or a DIY article, our “style” may not be apparent. If your goal is to simply give a brief history of the recipe and then write the ingredients and baking instructions, then voice takes a backseat to the imparting of information.
What I am saying is this: style, or voice if you will, takes a long time to develop, and certain types of writing almost smother style (insert AP style here)….and I think it is important that you never allow that to happen. Here’s why.
One Among Millions
Yes, millions, as in a lot of zeroes. You are one writer dog-paddling in a sea of writers, struggling to stay afloat and make it in this brutal profession. We all start out with the same number of words and the same rules of grammar. Let me put it another way. Imagine a million identical yellow rubber duckies floating in a pond. Your little child wants one, so you wade out and grab one and bring it back to shore. What process did you follow when you chose your rubber duckie? Most likely you just reached out and grabbed one randomly because hey, they were all the same.
Now let’s imagine a million recipe writers online right now. I am looking for a recipe for almond chicken. I wade out into the online pond and grab the first one randomly because hey, they all looked the same.
Do you want your writing career to depend on random selection?
The only way to break free and become a unique duckie in that pond is to brand your writing with your own signature, and the only way to become a successful writer of novels is to develop a style that makes you memorable to readers.
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And Now the Obvious Question Is How Do You Do That?
There is no easy answer to that. A writer’s style takes time. It is the culmination of a life lived. It is the combination of thoughts and experiences that each of us has. So how do you develop a unique writing style? First of all live life. Become engulfed with experiences. Add to that foundation and keep building, one block at a time.
Develop a style that is you and reflects the comfort you feel in being you. Do not try to write like someone else. That is a fool’s task. You are the only you in the history of mankind. Use that fact to become a writer that others will seek out. Find a new angle and incorporate it into your writing. Find a new perspective. Find a new approach. I am convinced that a recipe writer can find success if they find a novel way to write recipes, a way that readers can relate to and look forward to reading.
So your goal should be to raise a writer (you) from infancy to fully-functioning adult, an adult easily identified because of your uniqueness of style and voice.
So Let’s Do a Little Exercise
I want you to take five minutes and answer this question: what makes your writing different from the writings of others? Why are you unique?
No cheating on this. You can’t just say that you are unique because you are a unique individual. Although that is true we still have to find that unique quality in your writing. Is it there? Can you point to a portion of your writing that is your signature? If not then you have some work to do…..
Or not! The choice is yours and yours alone. I know writers who could care less about this. They write online articles and are only concerned with views and clicks and a monthly payout, so who the hell needs unique in that instance?
But for those of you who have bigger dreams, this is important. Successful authors are successful because of their style. If you don’t have one that you can identify then how can you expect your readers to do the impossible?
If you are an avid reader then you know what I say is true. What makes Stephen King unique? What made Steinbeck unique? Poe? Hemingway? You could give me a random page from Steinbeck without telling me who wrote it and I would be able to identify his writing. Can others do that with your writing? Even your most avid followers….could they identify your writing?
Hopefully the answer to that last question is yes. If not….well, there is no better time to develop your uniqueness than now.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”