I’ve been thinking quite a bit about writing styles in the past few days. Foremost, I’m obsessing about my own style, trying to improve it and make it more literal, more pleasant to the eye and to the flow of thoughts.
This got me thinking of the connection between an individual’s personal writing style and the character of that individual. It’s happened several times that I’ve guessed a character of a person whose text I read and then met them in person. It’s about what kind of words people choose, how they put those words together into sentences, what kind of points they make or at least try to make. Do they grope around the point they are trying to make or are they straight and to the point? By now I know very quickly if I’m reading words of a rookie or a professional writer and even guess at their emotional maturity. A wonderful example of a master writer showing his strength in his style is Stephen King – the man’s words flow smooth as silk.
This has some similarities to seeing written words on paper. I don’t have to read the text, the handwriting itself is enough. There are those types of handwriting that haven’t changed since grammar school. You can recognize them instantly from the stiff curves that were supposed to look like a flourish but they look so trained it doesn’t really fool anyone. Then there’s the jagged handwriting types – those tend to belong to people who are constantly in a hurry, are not used of writing on paper and are not used of the feel when a point of a pen meets the surface of a paper.
Emotional maturity can be recognized in customized handwriting, one that shows that a lot of effort has been put into developing it to look good but also to help add atmosphere to the thoughts written down. In this way, the shape of the letters and words reflect the nature of the writer himself/herself.
I think it’s time I get some people together to write papery letters and send them to one another via snail mail so we can all enjoy our little flourishes. It’s time to buy some black ink, me thinks…