As a new or inexperienced writer you probably haven’t given much thought to your own writing style. You are probably just relieved to get something down on paper and the last thing on your mind is what style you are writing in. Writing style is difficult to define and there are no strict rules you can follow to help you develop your own writing style, but you can learn how to recognise distinctive styles by reading the work of other authors.
Read the work of other authors
Read anything that interests you or captures your imagination. If you are planning to write your life story or family history you may choose just to read the autobiographies or biographies of well-respected authors but don’t necessarily limit your reading to your specific genre or subject. You can learn a lot from reading the work of other writers whether it is fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles etc.. Whatever you choose to read, note how the author expresses their ideas and emotions, how they organise and construct their writing, what sort of vocabulary they use, how they engage their readers, how they integrate dialogue into their narrative, how they keep a story moving etc. etc..
But don’t try to write like them – develop your own writing style
Even if the writing style of a particular writer has impressed and inspired you don’t be tempted to imitate that style. If you try to write in the style of another writer, your writing will seem awkward and contrived.
Keep it simple
If you are an inexperienced writer you may be tempted to adopt a more formal style of writing which is both unfamiliar and unnatural. Just keep your writing simple and only use words you are comfortable and familiar with (for example, the words you would use when talking to friends and family). If you have a problem finding your own voice, imagine you are writing a personal letter or email to someone you know – for most of us this style of writing comes perfectly naturally.
Read it out loud
Reading your work out loud is an excellent way of improving your writing. You will discover whether your writing flows naturally and sounds convincing. For example, if you find yourself gasping for breath in the middle of a sentence, it is probably too long (or should at least have a comma at that point). Similarly, if you stumble over a sentence or paragraph, it may be because you have phrased something clumsily or your idea lacks clarity. Reading out loud also gives you a sense of whether what you have written sounds like ‘you’ and whether it holds interest. If you start to yawn, just think how your readers will feel.
With practice you will start to develop your own writing style
There is no right or wrong writing style. Simply write to please yourself. The more you write the better you will become at expressing yourself and your own unique writing style will begin to develop. You will not develop your own writing style overnight. As a writer, your style will continue to evolve and change as you write more and gain confidence. And, eventually your own writing voice will emerge. The style you write in is what makes your writing unique and it is what your readers will remember.
Like what you write
Finally, write with enthusiasm and passion. If you are not excited or passionate about what you write your readers won’t be engaged or excited by what they read.