How to Adjust Your Style as a Writer
If you happen to run your own blog and manage to make money that way, then you probably do not have that much need for adjusting your style. You might want to do that to move with the times and make your writing more “mainstream,” but for the most part, you can do your own thing.
If, on the other hand, you happen to be a writer-for-hire in any one of the innumerable such capacities, you will probably soon find out that you will be making tweaks to your style and way of writing.
Some people find this more troublesome and difficult than others, and as someone who has done his share of work as a keyboard-wielding mercenary, I can come up with a few words to help them out.
Understand the “Other Side”
One of the best ways to approach the requirement (either a direct or indirect one) to adjust your style depending on who is paying for your writing services is to put yourself in their shoes.
They have a job that needs to be done and they are paying you to get the job done. More often than not, they need that job done in a very specific way and they do not even think about your feelings about this job.
This is quite similar to when you go to a restaurant and ask the chef to leave the bacon out of their signature salad because you do not like it. You are paying for the meal and you do not want bacon in your salad (I’ve heard such people exist).
Unless you come across a particularly proud and world-renowned chef who secretly hates all of his customers, you will get that salad without the bacon even though the chef strongly believes it would be better including it.
When all is said and done, you are being paid to do a job. No one is forcing you to take the job.
Understand the Occasion
Another way to look at adjusting your style as a writer is to understand the occasion. This is something that even independent bloggers have to do from time to time.
Let’s imagine that you run a blog about personal finances. You start doing a bit of guest blogging and you start reaching out to other personal finance bloggers and perhaps even companies whose blogs are in the same niche. You will try to adjust your writing to the style of their blog, almost instinctively.
You will understand the occasion and adjust your style out of common human decency.
The reason I am even mentioning this is that some writers “suppress” this sense of occasion and they refuse to adjust their style even when it is dictated by the circumstances.
Try not to be one of those writers.
Embrace the Opportunity
Adjusting your style does not have to be a bad thing necessarily. In fact, it can be one of the most educational experiences you can have as a writer.
For instance, by adjusting your style to very strictly formal blogs and websites, you will learn how to clearly present facts that you have backing for and make clearly-defined conclusions.
When guest blogging on a site belonging to a particularly quirky blogger’s style, you might find out that your sentences might need a bit of freeing up.
When writing 400 product descriptions for an ecommerce website that sells soap, you might discover that it is actually possible to do it and not end up in an insane asylum.
When getting a job at a renowned advertising agency that does things its own way, you can hone your personal style by listening to other people working there and learning from them.
Sometimes the most constraining writing can be the most liberating, or at least that is what I found.
Let Go of the Ego
We live in an age and a culture that nurtures and promotes ego to its pathological extents. We are all about success by any means, destroying others and feeling superior to anyone and everyone.
When writers grow up and hone their trade in such an environment, it can lead to an ego which can be quite constraining. In other words, you start to feel like no one has the right to tell you how to write.
Adjusting your style becomes extremely difficult.
Letting go of one’s ego is one of the most difficult things to do and I am not fooling myself thinking I can convince you to even try.
That being said, you probably haven’t won the Nobel Prize for Literature and you could relax.