Girl on the Write

October 13, 2008

That’s Just Not My Style, Man

Filed under: Writing Style — Wendy Sullivan @ 3:42 pm

What’s your style? I don’t mean what you wear, I mean how you write. Every writer has their own voice that’s just perfect for what they want to write about.

But what if you’re writing for someone else? As a freelancer, you are representing a client who may have a different voice in mind. You have to adjust your style to meet their needs.

“That’s fascist, man! I’m an artist!”

Ok, but do you want to be an employed artist? Yes? Then shutup and learn to take criticism. Learn to work toward filling your clients’ needs, before they find less of an artist and more of a writer. You’ve heard it before, and it is never so true as during a weak economy: You can’t sell what no one wants to buy.

I will admit, there are some jobs I don’t apply for because I don’t feel there’s any way I could do them justice because of my style, tone or beliefs. I leave those jobs behind for a more qualified person. The idea of my writing about green technologies and veganism is highly unlikely, as I hop in the pickup to go get a steak. Nor could I write coherently about radical left-wing feminism from a positive viewpoint. If I can’t bear to read it, I can’t bear to write it.

That’s not the same thing as tweaking your voice for an existing client. For example, a client today asked if I could write more like the writers of another large publication. I had to clarify that she didn’t mean content-wise; she just meant style. No problem! I can make myself familiar with their way of doing things in order to better emulate their voice.

After all, if I want to write in my own style, that’s what I have my own website for.

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