Thursday, March 6, 2008

Style in writing

I want it; it eludes me.
I need more practice. But what to practice? Do I practice the skill I am most familiar with, in order to refine it to a higher level? Or do I try to do completely different things, in order to increase the palette from which I draw?

Diligence says to practice both. Command of tone and style lie in the choice of words, structures, and other aspects of the written work. Command of a greater palette surely relates to command of the finer aspects of that palette. Not that this isn't simplification: the metaphor chosen suggests the possibility that painters use colors in different ways, some achieving their effects through bold colors (Van Gogh?) and others through more subtle use of color (Diebenkorn, maybe?).

Blogging has style--typically self-referential. It's both easy to be self-referential and yet it's not where I want to go. Or at least I hope that what is self-referential is related to some larger point that is worth sharing with others. That statement reveals a bias that self-referential writing is not generally applicable, but that is an assumption of limited value: the personal is generally applicable to other people.

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