Uncategorized, Writing Basics

The importance of style in college writing

Once upon a time, a young high school graduate signed up for two courses at her local community college extension center. She was eager to be the first person in her family to go to college, while also not wanting to commit too fully to something she wasn’t quite sure she wanted to do. She also wasn’t quite sure it was something she was even capable of finishing.

Typewriter image made using Sandbox app in Android.
Typewriter image made using Sandbox app in Android.

So, the young woman took a computer class, which she enjoyed, where she learned all about a new phenomenon called the internet, and chat rooms, and all manner of exciting new things. And she also took an English class, which she thought she would enjoy because she loved to write, but instead she ended up in an unwinnable argument with an ignorant instructor and soon dropped out of college altogether. Continue reading “The importance of style in college writing”

Composition I, Education, Writers on Writing

What’s your writing style? Do you have one?

Timberlake performing at St. Paul, Minnesota, ...
Are you the Justin Timberlake of writing? | Timberlake performing at St. Paul, Minnesota, one of the venues of his first worldwide tour, FutureSex/LoveShow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Style is an essential element of writing that can take decades to master. Writing students are often confused about what constitutes their style. Sometimes it is helpful to discuss style in an alternate medium, such as fashion, to draw an analogy that students can understand.

Consider this. I have two sons, aged 7 and 14. They are both sloppy dressers. My 7-year-old doesn’t really think about his “style.” Sure, he has a couple of favorite shirts that he would wear every single day if I would allow it. He prefers elastic-waist athletic pants over denim jeans because they are more comfortable. However, his clothing choices consist mostly of wearing the first item of clothing he can get his hands on when he reaches into his closet. The only reason he wears matching socks is because I match them up for him when I do the laundry. The result is often sloppy, but he doesn’t look sloppy on purpose. He just doesn’t know any better.

At this point, I am not too concerned with my younger son’s wardrobe choices as long as I can get him to dress appropriately for the weather. We live in Wisconsin, and we’re heading into the final days of October. The time for wearing shorts has passed. Now, my main concern regarding his daily dress is that he makes it out of the house each morning wearing long pants, socks, appropriate footwear, a sweatshirt, and a jacket. He is still learning the basic rules of dressing himself. There’s no room for worrying about style at this point. Continue reading “What’s your writing style? Do you have one?”