How to Preserve Your Academic Writing Style?
One of the complaints that many freelance writers have about their professions is that they get into certain habits or styles of writing that are counter-productive when they turn their attention toward other projects. For example, they find that writing model papers for many months in a row can tend to shift their writing style when it comes time to write a poem, or a short story. Certainly, that makes sense; there is no way to write in a similar fashion for many hours a day, every day of the week (as freelance academic writers tend to do in the busy season) and not have your writing style be affected. Writing model term papers is a very specific kind of writing, one that is different from other kinds of writing, and that’s just all there is to it.
Having said that, there are ways to prevent your own writing style from being kidnapped and whisked away to academic land. One of the more psychological methods is to approach each academic writing project with a mental reminder that you are approaching this as a job, a paid freelance writing project, and not as your own personal project. Doing this reminds yourself – the part of yourself who is a writer – that this writing you will be doing is not necessarily from the deepest parts of yourself, from which other kinds of writing spring, but rather another thing altogether. Be aware and mindful that academic writing is a totally different animal than your personal writing, and that will help you begin to cultivate a new style as opposed to transforming the one you have. In other words, soon you will have an academic writing style, and a Jane Doe personal writing style, and you will be able to pull out whichever one you need, when you need it.
Mental affirmations need practical supports, however. One of the most helpful of these where writing style is concerned is also the thing that many writers don’t feel like doing: write more. When you’ve finished 15 pages of academic writing for the day, the last thing you will probably want to do is write something else. However, that is exactly when you should do it. Set yourself a reasonable goal and don’t allow yourself to cancel or put it off. If you’re a prose writer, make sure you write five pages a day on top of any academic writing you might have done. If you’re a poet, block out a poem or revise an existing poem on top of any academic writing you might have done. By continuing to write in genres that are not only important to you, but are the ones in which you want your own personal writing style to be preserved, you will lend support to their preservation.
Another thing you can do to support your mental affirmations and keep your writing style intact is to read. Of course, that’s good advice for all writers, but I think it’s particularly helpful for academic writers to pump up their reading of genres in which they write on a personal level. The more immersion one has in a particular type of writing, the more one has a chance to allow his or her own style to emerge; and so, if your reading and writing are kicked up a notch, that will help to balance the very different kind of writing you will be doing as a freelance academic writer.
Finally, you might wish to join a writing group if you aren’t already a part of one. Again, that’s good advice for any writer, but it’s even more important for writers whose jobs require a very different style from them than the style in which they want to write for their personal gain and enjoyment. By having a group of people whose “job” it is to help you reach your own goals regarding your writing expertise, you will find yet another balance that will help you stay true to your writing style.