Style is the house you accidentally build

Slice of Life

Tuesday April 3, 2012

“Sometimes writers talk about style as something you can pick up when you buy groceries, something you might stumble upon in the dollar-or-less bin at the thrift store. But style isn’t an outfit we don and toss in the laundry at night’s end. Style is a body road mapped with scars and tattoos, the sediment of time spent struggling, failing, and starting over. Style is the house you accidentally build while you’re tearing walls down and throwing them in the burn pile. But most important, style is the thing writers struggle against, not toward.”

These words from a young writer Brad Beauregard set me to thinking this morning.  I have thought often about style and do I have a style.  How do you teach writing style?  How does style develop?   I love his thoughts about style as a house you accidentally build.   It connects me back to a post I wrote about just needing to write daily.  We become writers over time with struggles and failing and starting over.   It is the lesson we sometimes forget to explain to our young students.  Writing just doesn’t happen when the pencil touches the paper or the fingers to the keys.  It happens because we work at it, think about it and try over and over again.

It is what I want to help my young writers to learn. It is the trying over and over again that builds our writers stamina, strength and skill.  I hope that lesson can be shown and felt by my writers as we continue to write this year.

The Slice of Life Challenge was a great way to help us begin to learn this lesson.

Thanks Ruth and Stacey.

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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2 Responses to Style is the house you accidentally build

  1. blogpraylove says:

    Great share! Love that idea “Style is the house we accidentally build.” It totally makes sense to me.

  2. Jaana says:

    I like this line in your post: “We become writers over time with struggles and failing and starting over.” Writing is a process. We learn as we make mistakes. Thanks for sharing!

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