(much like a flan in a cupboard)
My writing style has noticeably changed over the last few months, as I’ve started writing consistently for other people, rather than for myself. This site is annoying and blunt as ever, because any faults for irritating people rest solely on my head, but my work for sites like The Game Shelf, Public Pressure, and even in small updates for UCL societies has started to soften; in some senses, it’s weakened.
I got the majority of these positions by using this site as a portfolio; of course, my higher-ups could have ignored it entirely, but if they wanted a portrait of me as a writer, they’d have seen an edgy, apathetic, very occasionally amusing style. This is a style I enjoy writing, and the style that I most often associate with myself when I picture Me in my head. But as time has progressed, I’m less confident falling back into this style; dodgeball and karate newsletters resemble other, more generic, Publicities’ Officers’ emails, and I declined to use the at-the-time hilarious construction ‘Torn ACLs! Broken arms! Steroid Abuse!’ as a tongue-in-cheek advert for the American football team; I have a more rigorous filter on my mind when I’m writing for organisations larger than myself that has rather crept up on me.
I always wanted to be obtuse and edgy in my writing, with the logic that being remembered for being a dick is better than being forgotten for being plain, but I’m seeing that I’m not actually sticking to that prioritisation. I’m afraid of being too brash when advertising societies to people, and especially with my work for The Game Shelf, where there is an almost perfect negative correlation between time spent writing articles and frequency of blunt turns of phrase. It’s not that I don’t want to be remembered, but I want these projects – and me as a writer within them – to be palatable before they’re memorable. There’s no point in being all cool and edgy on The Game Shelf to an audience of no-one, so I’m working on building an audience first, then being more lax with my phrasing.
And none of this has been a conscious effort; I’m only evaluating it now, in retrospect, for the purposes of a blog post. It’s been interesting to see how my subconscious writing style, when the only consequences apply to myself (i.e. the style of this blog), differs to my subconscious writing style, when consequences apply to my friends and peers (i.e. my magazines and committee responsibilities). I’m either afraid of projecting my identity onto groups of multiple people – my tweets are inevitably the face of the dodgeball club, so they mustn’t become representative of me alone – or afraid of pissing-up responsibilities for other people in a way that I’m apathetic about when it comes to my projects.
Either way, I’m writing, for myself and for other people, and in a myriad of ways. Even if it’s confusing in the short-term, this can’t be a bad thing.