Our writing style will help us find work, sell our writing, and grow an audience.
When people hire me they often say “I like your writing style” or share some similar sentiment. (I do content marketing, ghostwriting, commercial freelance work, and whatnot.)
I’m glad they appreciate how I write. It helps us start our working relationship from a good place. At the same time,g I wonder what they mean.
If you asked me what my writing style is, I would sputter at my response. I strive to write logically. I work to have a smooth flow from word to word, sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. I use complete sentences, avoid clichés, and like to write in triplets. Occasionally my words have a playful tone, and I hope my writing is always interesting. Does this describe my style? Or does this merely delineate my technique? Is there a difference?
Regardless, I know that having a writing style is critical to me finding work. So I’m glad I have one. My writing style has emerged over time. How that happened for me is likely the same as for any writer.
We need to:
Write in Public: I blog, and I write articles. My work is out there for everyone to see. Many of the people who hire me have read my words for years but not everyone. My last ghostwriting client was a referral. Until that moment he had never heard of me, but he found my words online, liked my writing style, and hired me.
Get Feedback: When we write in public we sometimes receive criticism—both constructive or otherwise. We can also seek feedback from people we trust, such as other writers, a critique group, beta readers, editors, agents, and publishers. Their reaction to our words today helps make our words tomorrow better.
Strive to Improve: Not all aspects of our writing style are necessarily good. Everyone has weak spots. So we work to write better. As we do our style morphs into something grander. How I write today, though similar to last year, is better. The same is true for anyone who writes with intention.
Even if we don’t know our writing style, the people who read our words know what it is. Perhaps they can’t articulate it anymore then we can, but they know our work when they see it.
Having an engaging writing style will help us find work, sell our writing, and serve an audience. That’s why I write. How about you?
Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.