Let me tell you something. As a kid, I wasn’t particularly fussy, but yet someone with peculiar tastes. God bless my mother, how she put up with my myriad moods is a mystery to me. It was many years later that I was going to learn about Wilde’s popular and my mantra for life – Be you, everybody else is taken. But somehow even at the age of two, it quite influenced me.
I grew up with this natural urge to be different. When I started to write, the urge took the shape of a hungry blistering monster. Today, as a writer, the hunger drives me. But it isn’t just fantasy, it’s the need. And for many years, I did not know how to be that. How do you be different in an ocean-full of a zillion writers out there?
In the fall of 2005, when I read Jhumpa Lahiri for the first time, a tiny spark of inspiration hit as realization lit the dark room of my mind. I knew I wanted to write like her. Not in the sense of what she writes, but how she writes. Word after word, I was drowning in her stories and I knew I wanted to create that kind of impact on my readers too. And then, I just knew what I missed.
I needed to have a style of my own. A writing style, that was by me, for me.
So what’s a writing style? Let’s just say – it’s how you dress your words; how you express yourself.
Unless you find that style, you are going to be lost. It’s the light that leads you through a dark eerie tunnel; that saves you. And let me correct myself – it’s not something you find, but something you create. Not something you adopt, but something you invent.
I cringe when I see lengthy paragraphs smothering pages. It immediately makes me skip the page. As a reader, I’m someone who has a short term memory for remembering things when I’m reading. A long paragraph just dies half way with me. And so I hate to adapt to that writing style. But that’s not all. Creativity also greatly defines your style.
I guess what I’m trying to say is,
Write long, write short. Make it interesting, make it descriptive. Make it something.
No one wants to read anything. If you have a reader walk up to your blog, the least you want is to have them stay and if possible, come back again. And it’s only your writing style that gets them hooked. Who otherwise has the time really?
Whether you write long prose or short poems, only your writing style differentiates you from the lot. So explore, experiment, and do not settle until you’ve made it.
What’s your writing style? What are your thoughts on having a unique writing style? Do share a word or two.
(In my next article, I shall share bits on some writing styles.)