You won’t believe how many times I hear, “All writing is the same.” There’s this misconception that a writer can write anything. If she can write prose, she can write poetry or a biography. If he can write speeches, he can also write an op-ed piece or fiction. That simple isn’t true.
All writing is not the same. Writing is not a one size fits all type of thing. Just because you like to write fiction, doesn’t mean you can also write a news article or a song. In a previous blog called, “Do You Know Your Writing Style? Identify Your Writing Style.” I discussed the four kinds of writing styles. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to click on the above link. It will help you figure out your writing style.
I wished someone had explained this to me before I began my writing career. I learned the hard way that all writing is not the same. Let me explain.
Even as a child, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I devoured books, wrote cheesy poems, and became the editor of my high school newspaper and yearbook. I took the same path in college. My need to write led me to my first degree. Journalism. Soon after, I secured a job as a reporter in a nearby town. I did it; I was a full-time writer!
As a reporter, I covered all kinds of news. I wrote about school board meetings, police and court proceedings, charity events, and more. A few of my articles landed on the front page. I loved interviewing people. I met some incredible people including, authors, leaders, and celebrities. Believe it or not, I hated most of the writing I published then. I was so unhappy, but I couldn’t figure out why.
After all, writing is writing, right? Wrong. It took me years to figure that out. By then, I had bounced from one writing endeavor to the next. Staff Writer. Editor. Content Writer. Freelancer. Publisher. Writer. Blogger. In between all of that, I earned three more degrees and took non-writing jobs because I was unsure of my path.
My epiphany came when I took the time to unpack all that is me. I sat down and thought about what drew me to those jobs. Each one provided me an opportunity to write and discover story. It’s true; I love writing, but I love story more. Then, it hit me. Not all writing is the same! When I looked at all the writing jobs I held as a collective, I was and am the happiest when I can express myself and unearth a good story that helps others.
Remember that first job I told you about? My best articles were about the community. I enjoyed writing about the elderly woman who received assistance after her story was published. I spent hours interviewing the genealogy author who had written another book about a local family’s history. In other words, I gravitated toward feature stories because I could be creative with my writing style. I love informing and entertaining readers. As a writer, I figured out my writing style and niche My writing style is a cross between descriptive and narrative. Occasionally, I add elements of the other two styles, depending on the writing project I am completing at the time.
Taking on those other gigs helped me see why all writing is not the same. Each writing job required specific content and writer mindset. A reporter’s main role is to present the facts. There’s very little room for fluff. As a reporter, I searched for the truth and presented the details. There is a reason why they say, “Just the facts, Ma’am; just the facts.” The position required a lot of fact checking and interviewing people. As a content writer, I updated website information and wrote about products, services, and events. Both examples required a formal mindset, and I had to adhere to the style and formatting guidelines.
All writing has some kind of formatting guidelines, but for me, whatever writing roles I accept they must be creative and keep story at the forefront. As an author/blogger/freelancer, I enjoy the writing I do now. Whether I am crafting a fictional story to expressing my knowledge to writing about a real person or event, I have the ability to be the writer I’m meant to be. And as a result, my writing style and voice comes across as authentic.
Here’s the thing. I did what so many writers do. I decided I wanted to be a writer without taking the time to really think about what kind or type of writer I should be. Even though, I love fiction and creative nonfiction stories, I obtained a degree in journalism because that was all I knew at the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from being a journalist and other writing roles. The experiences have enhanced the writing I do now, but I can’t help wondering how much further along I would be if I’d known then that all writing is not the same. Would I have made the same mistakes? Would I have bounced from one job to the next? Would I have pressed the pause button on my writing career for as long as a did if at all?
I can’t say for certain my path would’ve been different, but I can say knowledge is power. When you know what you want and what it entails, you can make informed decisions about your chosen path.
There are all kinds and types of writing. Each one requires a certain flair and mindset. All writing is not the same. The question becomes which one do you gravitate toward? Which one suits you best? If you’re serious about being a writer, you owe it to yourself to take the time to figure out your style and the type of writer you want to be.
Check out my other posts, “Do You Know Your Writing Style? If Not, This Blog is a Must Read! Identify Your Writing Style Now!” to find your style.