Writing like I'm still writing essays

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  • Shikasama 17 Jun 2013 19:01:33 7,010 posts
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    For the past month or so I've been working on my own little slice of the internet and with all of the boring stuff done, I've been turning my hand to the content creation.

    I used to do quite a bit of this sort of thing years ago, but I've found it to be a real struggle this around. Since my last turn I've gone away and done a History degree and I'm finding it incredibly difficult to stop writing like I'm handing in a bloody essay.

    I'm basically ending up with two types of article - one that reds like it should have footnotes and one that reads extremely try hard, generally with a lot of swearing. Obviously I don't expect to be a wordsmith after being so out of practice but I did wonder if anyone had experienced something similar and if so, if they had any advice on how to get over it.
  • CosmicFuzz 17 Jun 2013 19:05:29 25,032 posts
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    I've gone a little of the opposite way. So much story writing my reports and stuff I'm handing in at work are sounding too colloquial! But yeah, very easy to do I think. Just takes time/reading the style you want to write in.

    I'm hugely influenced by what I read and hear. Since listening to the stand by Stephen King on audible I've started writing in a very similar way, like I can hear the narrator of the story reading my own work out loud. Not sure if it's helping the quality or not tbh...

    Edited by CosmicFuzz at 19:06:28 17-06-2013

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  • Monstro 17 Jun 2013 19:09:33 23 posts
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    What sort of subjects are you writing about? I mean if you're taking on fairly academic, technical or philosophical articles (along the lines of "What is a Game, and Why?"), then it's no wonder you're producing an essay.

    Apart from that, maybe a fairly formal style is just your natural approach - particularly if you have a critical mindset. In which case it's hard to change. Practice practice practice I guess - find a writer whose style you'd like to emulate and play copycat for a while.

    You might try something a little wild to refine your style. Like dictating it to yourself while drunk/playing/sleeping. Or pretend you're writing to a friend, rather than an audience, to see if it softens your style. Or even try to write in character, pretend you're Tommy Cooper or Barack Obama or Yoda or a made-up creation - just something to funnel your words through a different filter.
  • RobTheBuilder 17 Jun 2013 19:19:04 6,521 posts
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    For me I try and write how I might say it.
    Also, I find writing about things you are really passionate about helps being out your style.
  • CosmicFuzz 17 Jun 2013 19:30:49 25,032 posts
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    RobTheBuilder wrote:
    For me I try and write how I might say it.
    Also, I find writing about things you are really passionate about helps being out your style.
    Good point

    /starts writing hardcore torture porn

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  • Deleted user 17 June 2013 21:00:22
    It's just because of practice. Write some crazy creative fiction for fifteen minutes or so, literally stream-of-consciousness shit, then write for your articles afterwards. The more you write in different voices, the easier it'll be to switch between them. I can go from a scholarly essay to a blog post to a short story without stopping for breath, each one with unique and appropriate voices and aesthetics, but only because I do all three on an almost daily basis.
  • RobTheBuilder 17 Jun 2013 21:06:39 6,521 posts
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    The other thing is to get someone else and watch them read it.

    It's weird but when you do that you read it how they might see it and notice the language details more.
  • Shikasama 17 Jun 2013 21:53:07 7,010 posts
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    All good points. It's irritating to have something that you used to consider yourself quite good at and then go back to it and feeling very sub par.

    Probably should have mentioned that it's a games thing. I definitely need to read more reviews although I find IGN and Gamespot rather boring. I'm pitching towards a John Walker/RPS vibe as they are the kind of articles I enjoy reading.

    Looks like practice is gonna be the key!
  • sirtacos 18 Jun 2013 00:40:03 7,337 posts
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    I have a tendency to do the same thing. Reading it back aloud, or having someone else read it, is often very helpful. If it sounds awkward when spoken, it'll sound awkward when read.
  • mal 18 Jun 2013 01:30:30 22,727 posts
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    Surprises me you're having too much trouble. Your posting style is generally well thought out and not too sweary. Granted, anything from a blog posting up is going to need a bit more structure to it, but that's the framework. Fill it as you do here.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Salaman 18 Jun 2013 09:51:58 19,312 posts
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    Shikasama wrote:
    All good points. It's irritating to have something that you used to consider yourself quite good at and then go back to it and feeling very sub par.

    Probably should have mentioned that it's a games thing. I definitely need to read more reviews although I find IGN and Gamespot rather boring. I'm pitching towards a John Walker/RPS vibe as they are the kind of articles I enjoy reading.

    Looks like practice is gonna be the key!
    Go to "all about the games" and read through every Stevas review you can find. (you might want to set aside some time for this)
    You'll be producing different* material after that.











    * may not be what you're after yet
  • Steve_Perry 18 Jun 2013 10:14:45 4,641 posts
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    Let somebody proofread it for you. A second and third opinion from somebody who knows their onions should give you enough feedback to adapt your content in a positive fashion.

    VIVA STEFANSEN

  • RedSparrows 18 Jun 2013 11:22:32 23,444 posts
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    I don't have this problem, and I think that's purely down to practice.
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