Your writing style is the way in which the narrative of your writing comes across to other readers, including your sentence structure, syntax, and overall voice in order to provide your writing with an overall tone or mood.
Each writer has their own, natural style and this can change from project to project. However, you may find that certain authors typically maintain a cohesive writing style.
Essentially, an author’s writing style can be recognized from work to work.
Types of Writing Styles
There are a few different ways to think of writing styles as an author.
Firstly, you have your personal writing style as an author, which is what we explained above; it’s the specific way your writing reads.
Here are some examples of how an author’s writing style may vary:
Wordiness – How much your narrative uses longer, run-on sentences versus short and choppy ones.
Syntax – The structure of your sentences, the emphasis, pauses, word order and general style of writing typical sentences.
Word choice – This can mean swearing or not, using more complex words versus simpler ones, and more. The word choice in your writing style can help readers understand the perspective of the narration.
Tone – The tone in writing is like the attitude the author has toward a subject matter. If they dislike something, the tone could be short and negative, the opposite if they enjoy what they’re writing about.
Mood – The mood differs from tone because it’s the overarching feeling readers take away through the writing. The mood can be altered through the use of tone, word choice, and other literary devices.
However, writing style also refers to the intent of what you’re writing.
Here are the 4 main writing styles:
Expository Writing – This is the most common type of writing. This blog post is an example of expository writing, as I’m explaining a concept and providing information. However, expository writing often doesn’t include the author’s opinions.
Descriptive Writing – You’ll most often find descriptive writing in fiction (and creative non-fiction too!), as it’s when authors write in a more descriptive style, creating more of a visual rather than just relaying facts.
Persuasive Writing – This writing style is mostly used in order to persuade others to take some sort of action and includes cover letters, reviews, advertisements, web copy, and more. The goal is to convince the readers of something one way or another.
Narrative Writing – This type of writing style is usually exclusive to fiction and is when the writer is constructing a story and plot by using descriptive writing to help you visualize it.
These different writing styles aren’t typically exclusive to one project. You can use various of them in a single work, which is often what books are.
We’ll cover some specific examples to help you understand further below.
Writing Style Examples
Sometimes it’s easier to understand through examples than just simply reading a definition.
Here are some examples of the different types of writing style to help you get the gist for understanding what writing style is and how you can use that to adapt and create your own.
Expository Writing Style Examples:
As stated above, expository writing is the most common type and basically just relays necessary information.
Here are some examples of expository writing:
Descriptive Writing Style Examples:
You can write in a number of different ways with descriptive writing. Even expository writing can include descriptive within it.
Here are examples of descriptive writing:
Journaling or Diaries
Persuasive Writing Style Examples:
Remember when you had to write a “persuasive” essay in school in order to learn how to make an argument? That’s what persuasive writing is.
You want your readers to leave agreeing with you on some matter.
Here are examples of persuasive writing:
Letters of recommendation
Website sales copy
Letters of complaint
Narrative Writing Style Examples:
When you think of books, they’ll typically fall under this writing style. If you’re trying to discover your personal writing style, you’ll likely be writing in the narrative style.
This writing style is the type we’re really going to focus on in this next section all about how to develop your own writing style and find your natural flow as a writer.
How to Find Your Writing Style
I myself, like to write in two different styles to express who I am as a person and access my creativity. For these two styles, I actually own two separate blogs; one on travel parenting and one on my faith.
My travel/parenting blog allows me to express myself with humor. This allows parents to identify with me by seeing the lighter side of parenting. My faith blog is a more serious destination where readers can come to learn more about the bible.
I enjoy writing in both styles. The two blogs allow me to enjoy these writing styles without confusing my readers.
So how do you, as a writer, find your place in the writing world and develop a writing style that suits you?
Here a four ways that you can find and develop your own writing style:
#1 – Read a lot
Why is reading so important? Reading allows you to learn from other people’s knowledge and lets you immerse in their world. It allows you to develop your own writing style.
Reading other people’s work will influence your own writing. This is because we tend to write in a similar way to what we read on a regular basis.
If you aren’t currently reading every day I would encourage you to do so. Find something that interests you and start reading, whether it be in a book, via a website, or another place.
Make it a daily habit to spend at least half an hour devouring someone else’s work.
As you read more and more, your own style of writing will deepen. It will develop based on your own experiences and the influences you have had.
You can broaden your own horizons as an author by reading various styles of writing. Reading will show you new ways of wording sentences and creative ideas you hadn’t thought of.
#2 – Be honest to who you are
When you write, remember to stay true to who you are. Writing is an art-form that allows you to express yourself from within.
Trying to be someone you are not will hinder your writing journey, not help it.
When I say be honest with who you are, I mean staying true to yourself. This will include your own values, your beliefs, your feelings and who you are as a person.
Trying to write a comedic piece when you don’t usually use humor will be difficult and often not read well. This is because you may be forcing this writing and the piece will not flow.
When you write something that is not from who you are, it can confuse your reader. This is because it will be difficult to sustain your voice as a writer. When your style changes or doesn’t flow well, it makes it harder for the reader to identify who you are. As a result they may not want to read more of your work.
When you writes from within, the reader is able to see parts of who you are as a person and can get to know you better.
I read a book a while back on business growth. It was a good book and I learnt a lot from it. As a result I then followed the author and starting reading her other books. Shortly after this she changed styles. The trend at that time was beginning to bring in swear words to make someone seem ”kick ass”.
This author jumped on that trend and began swearing through all her books. I don’t mean one or two swear words dispersed throughout. One of her books had so many swear words in it that her book would have been several pages shorter if she had left them out.
This writer delighted in telling her readers that this particular book had only taken her four hours to write. The problem was you could tell that it didn’t have the flow or content of her other books.
It felt forced and more as if she created it to make money rather than give to the reader.
To me as a reader I felt like she was trying to be someone she wasn’t and I lost interest in her work and didn’t bother after that. It felt a bit sad because she had some good information to share but appeared to lose sight of who she was as a writer.
When you write from who you are you will not need to change your style part way through. Find your own style of writing and own it!
#3 – Write what comes with ease
Writing as part of who you are should come to you naturally and not feel weird or be a huge struggle. You may have times that you feel like you have writer’s block, or struggle to come up with what you want to say but this shouldn’t be the norm.
If you find that writing in general is difficult it could be for several reasons:
You have not created a writing habit to allow it to flow for you
You are lacking in inspiration for your topic
You are not writing in a style that is true to you
If you have created a proper writing habit and you are stuck, try getting inspiration. This could mean reading other forms of writing to refresh you or taking a break from writing. A half hour walk while you listen to music may be all it takes to put you back on track.
If you are still struggling, then chances are, you are not writing in a style that is congruent to who you are.
#4 – Express yourself naturally
I’m an extrovert and I thrive from the people in my life who I spend time with. As you can tell I love to use a conversational writing style when I put pen to paper.
For me it feels like I am able to share my thoughts and feelings with someone like I would if they were sitting next to me.
That style of writing comes naturally to me and flows easily.
When you write, choose a style that allows you to express yourself. That may be in expressing yourself through creative writing, allowing the poet in you to come alive or sharing your life experiences in a helpful how-to form.
Whatever it is, it should leave you feeling like you have shared what you want to. You should feel energized and excited about your work, not drained and struggling to create more.
Once you have found your style the only other thing you can do is write, write, and keep writing. The more you write, the easier it will come to you and the better you will become at expressing yourself through your words. You have a gift to write and you need to use it to share your message with the world.
Today plan your daily habit of reading and writing and watch your life grow and move you to the next level of your writing career.