Here we are, authors living in the technology age. Many of us have lived through the transition from pencil and paper writing to electronic style documentation, although I would venture to say that there are still plenty of people out there that just love using ink to portray their message. With the addition of computers and other devices that we can write, text, or dictate our messages into, it is no wonder that the styles of writing have changed just as much as how we do that actual writing. When I think of how and what I wrote 20 years ago, I would say that my style, content and even manner of phrasing has transitioned, not only from age, but from the impact of our cultural transition during this time period. As social media gained life, the type and kind of communication we use shifted – from long handwritten letters popped into a corner mailbox that then meant weeks of waiting, to instant gratification in a text or instant message. The excitement of heading to the mailbox to see if you had a letter has been transformed into the “beep” or “chime” of a notification on our digital device. Instead of sending a letter with a stamp, we send a text – and become impatient with the short wait for a response. Writing in all forms is a new adventure. With digital came change.
For writers, the shift was gradual as the rules of engagement changed. No longer was there a sentence length or paragraph style that was demanded. In fact, when sending a tweet, you are greatly restricted in the characters that you can use, so writing moved from How are you today? To How RU TDY? The entire English language compressed upon itself – comments and quotations became shorter and shorter and then we were invaded by emojis. To survive as a writer today you need to adapt. For me, this means relaxing a bit into the change and embracing the new freedom. There are a few simple rules that can be used to truly remain relevant and read, and the best part is that anyone can write!
1. Just let go Authors that try to fit into old molds and writing styles may find themselves lost in the shuffle of the new and bold. Try giving in to the stream of thought that exists inside your head. Write what you are thinking, even if it seems to mean nothing important. When your thoughts begin to go in the direction of what you want to write about, follow the trail and see where it brings you. Just let the writing happen and edit later. You may be surprised to see what comes out!
2. Feel free to use short sentences This is my favorite tool. Short sentence. Quick thoughts. My writing style is very free – I enjoy writing in a similar fashion as I would speak to someone in person, and I allow myself to use that word flow to my advantage. Although unorthodox in the past, anything goes in the new world of print. Allow yourself to worry more about getting the words out of you than how long the sentence is, or what words your string together trying to impress a reader. Tell the story. Let it be a living breathing thing that may run on, or one that stops short. It’s okay to let the words be what they want to be. Let them be!
3. Believe that what you are writing is important to someone Today, once you press that send button, your words are flying across the globe. Anyone, anywhere with an internet connection can read what you wrote. With this great ability to spread words quickly, we can find others that are interested in the same things that we find exciting. The global age can connect us to other people that want to hear what we have to say.
I like to think that bad reviews and less than heartfelt responses to writing are just the worlds way of saying “you haven’t connected with the right people yet.” Ideas, stories, and research have meaning not only to you, but to someone else. Feel free to write it down, get it out there, and don’t worry so much about the rejection, relish in the joy of making the connections that matter.
Allow the words to flow my friends, as writing is as writing is. We can all find words to express ourselves, and we live in a time where we can use the available technology to connect in great ways with others. In any style of communication that we want.