Today’s Writing Tip: Varying Your Style

sig2010Usually I read nonfiction or dramas that take place in the present day, but in the beginning of 2012 I forced myself to read seven Shakespearean plays.

I wanted to break my routine and expand my thinking. Whatever is true for reading habits is also true for writing habits. You can benefit by varying your style.

Maybe you like to write long, lyrical prose. In that case, you might want to try writing short declarative sentences like Hemingway did. If you tend to write very emotionally or persuasively, try drafting an article or something that requires research or precision instead of opinion.

It’s easy to follow our routine – even Bilbo would have preferred staying in his hobbit hole and eating scones to venturing out into the jungle, but he forced himself out of his comfort zone. And as a result he discovered all kinds of character traits that he never would have known he had. You’re probably skilled in more ways than you know. Take the great leap: walk among the wolves, bears, and goblins.

Sigrid Macdonald is an author and editor. You can find her at