Some copy Stephen J. Adler’s business writing style and aim to sound like an expert marketing reseller or a business connoisseur. Some imitate Gabriel Garcia-Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa’s verbosity and copy what these Latinos did in Clandestine in Chile and in La Casa Verde. Some aim to be a little analytical and psychological like Stendhal, Mishima or Proust and leave their readers thinking and deciphering for clear-cut yet poignantly written allegory and metaphors. Some like to be as straightforward as Salinger and Murakami, like what they did in The Catcher in Rye and in South of the Border, West of the Sun. Some want to separate long sentences with periods instead of using commas, and some slice it with semicolons. Some adhere to parallelism and some just don’t care about it. And some just want to write like nobody, just be themselves, without academe writing rules or getting any inspirations from literary giants.
Your personality. Your voice. Your audience.
Style. They say that it is one of the keys to separate your name from others. And this creed seems to have a strong point.
Haruki Murakami gained popularity in the West—especially in the United States and France—because of his non-traditional writing elements and style. As for the elements, his novels lack “Japaneseness”or cultural qualities and contents that are present in other widely translated Japanese writers like Mishima, Abe, Tanizaki, and Ōe. His style is different and rather inventive according to literary critics, for he writes in no deep Nihongo, a thing that made him the most ignored local writer in his country. Perhaps we can say that if he decided to write like early Japanese contemporary writers or if he opted to write about geishas, kimonos, and tatamis instead of Denny’s, Coltrane, and Hollywood, he may not be part of this article. Maybe his name will be just like any other vague Japanese names we often hear, see, or read in MMA fights and WWII history books.
But style isn’t about having the journalistic approach. Perceptibly, you don’t have to be Hemmingway or Flaubert to say that you have style. Style is not being literary or journalistic. Nor it is being original. Style is simply the way you do it, the way you form words, the exact manner how you put ideas into writing, into written body of thoughts. Style, moreover, is the way of conveying your ideas through your own fashion, mode, or technique. It can be innate, copied, or whatever. Writing style is ‘simply the way the writer chooses to do his writing’.
Talent, skill, hard work or born to write?
Inherent, learnt, copied
As the subheading suggests, style can be inherent, learned, or copied. There are some lucky folks out there born with a quill on their mouth, as if they were born to write ‘their own way’, and some just have writer friends, unknowingly adapt their style, and eventually claim this as their own style. And some are just lucky to have the opportunity to enrol in scholarly universities where they can learn diverse styles from books and from their erudite professors and intellectual classmates. Some, on the other hand, just contain themselves idolizing literary giants, copying their styles and eventually forming their own.
The dangers of these three on blog writing
Yet one has to be reminded that having a style is not all rainbows and flowers. Stendhal and his innate acumen for psychological analysis, was not appreciated during the Romantic period, because it only acquired wide attention and appreciation a century after his death, an occurrence that is closely similar to Franz Kafka’s, whose works—principally Metamorphosis and The Castle—only obtained attention years after his death.
On the other hand, a style that is learned or copied can be crucial to those who aim to have a significant blog writing approach, for there is a big tendency not to deliver uniqueness if the one being taught refuse to swerve from his teacher’s teachings. This is so true, since most blogs on the Web appear nothing different from each other, as if the writers of these blogs are just relying on one style, as f these writers have similar influences and no different writing instructor.
Sometimes, reading blogs on the Web makes me feel bored, because most posts, articles, or write-ups are structurally and stylistically indifferent from each other. All marketing blogs read the same, sport blog writers speak alike, and lifestyle articles seem like copycats of themselves.
Putting myself in regular, non-technical readers’ shoes, I can say that style is just secondary. To be frank with you, I find reading with “style” in mind tiring. I am not saying that style is useless, but what’s more important to me is the content, and how the entire blog post’s attribute and aspect connect to every reader’s mind and emotion. Try reading Jack Kerouac and other Beat writers’ poetry and you’ll understand that sometimes style isn’t that important in writing just to convey a message, just to say what you really want to say. Or perhaps you can just see this one. Given that it’s from the legendary poet and novelist Charles Bukowski, this poetry embellished in fragmented and unconventional style and structure is one major art form of disappointment. Yet—according to some critics—what made it exceptional (beyond its eerie rhyming—if it has one—and eccentric style) is its strong message.
Know your niche and earn your spot
The knowledge of your niche, the point of what you are saying
The entire world of blog is too wide to conquer. Even if you own 1,689 blogs and have these fully optimized all at the same time, getting solid attention from your niche is no jest. Even writing like the trite yet popular Rowling or Meyer won’t assure you of hundreds and thousands hits.
Nevertheless, getting clicks, hits, traffic (or whatever you want to call it) is manageable and workable with the help of SEO, PPC, and social media promotion’s science, but gaining readers and gaining loyal supporters of your blog is not. In other words, attracting people to land on your blog is done through SEO (you set up keywords, optimize it, etc.) and to keep them on visiting you on a regular basis can only be attained through effectual and sensible writing.
Being creative and having the stylistic writing acumen is indeed a need in blog writing. However, there are lots of stylistic blogs out there written by real writers (those from popular universities and journalistic/literary firms) that bear no significance to me because these contain no message, or these blogs fail to attract me.
Thus, style and other literary elements are pointless if substance and niche knowledge is absent.
Apart from devoting time on the writing process itself, allocating time on understanding and delving deeper in your niche strengthens blog writing, or writing in general. Especially today that people have become “wiser” and “more learned” because of the Internet and its capability to give out information. A blog that is weak on substance is an easy target for these types of people, or the overly technical and detail-conscious readers.
Hence, style plus knowledge of you niche can make you one remarkable Web writer.