Who needs grammar school when you have Pandora Sykes, Leandra Medine and a tab permanently open on the thesaurus.
‘I was not privately educated.’
‘I did not attend a grammar school.’
‘I’m not a journalism graduate.’
‘I have not pursued any form of post-graduate education.’
…but honestly! None of that matters.
Eva Chen, ex-editor at Teen Vogue and Lucky Magazine, started her career in the legal industry before steadily steering into fashion and publishing. With regards to her writing style and tone of voice, Chen notes “…as someone who has been writing and editing professionally for about a decade. It has taken me 10 years to solidly define my voice and solidly feel secure in what I am doing, and that is a testament to practice.”
I’m firmly with Eva. Scratch a line through your career limitations and negativity like a big fat key slicing into the bodywork of a shiny red Porsche, because that’s probably what’s holding you back from riding off into the sunset. Life experiences and the lessons they provide are the best teachers any of us could ask for. So although mine or your backgrounds may not be in writing, english language or literature, that’s not to say that we can not climb the ranks to become a Features Writer or Editor. (Personally, that’s not my ambition but it might be yours, and good on you for daring to dream and working to make it a reality).
There’s only one way to improve the way you write and it’s by doing just that – writing (and reading) A LOT! Which is exactly what I’ve been doing, day in and day out, morning, afternoon and evening. It’s only been a few months but I am noticing small improvements and basking in the lovely compliments you send from time to time. I like to think I’m developing a simple, relatable and witty tone.
At the moment, excellent and obvious writers such as Pandora Sykes and Leandra Medine (the entire Man Repeller crew to be honest) are my, very high, benchmark. I’m endlessly fascinated with the skill in which they deploy the most complex of words into strong sentences and great stories. No word of exaggeration, I pull out the dictionary alongside their articles, a two-fold learning experience of words and ideas – it’s honestly brilliant!
And through that process, I’ve noticed a pattern of words being consistently used by the best in the game! You know the kind, the succulent verbiage that begs for a knife and fork to be stabbing straight through the middle, ripping it apart to reveal its oh so juicy core. Through the use of these words, not only will your writing be bumped up to a top class standard, but they’ll do wonders for your spoken vocabulary too.
Here’s my tip and writers secret:
For some time now, I’ve been privately putting together a little word bank of big words to swallow and spit out in my every day conversations and written communication. If I may, just for fun and mostly for a laugh, I’ve whipped up a sandwich style paragraph, jam packed with the words legitimately being studied as a full-time student in the school of life.
…And if you’re up for playing the teacher, I’d love you to grade my efforts from 1 (being pretty poor) to 10 (a sure hit).
“The crux of becoming a grown up perpetuates an insatiable pressure to behave in the most responsible of manners, more commonly known as ‘adulting’. Given all the finer nuances of adulting, the pragmatic approach comes with the understanding that, in an actual grown ups life, nothing comes easy or cheap – 2 words that may subconsciously be hard to rid yourself of, dutifully negating the two central ideals that shaped our teens and early twenties – yikes!
The old adage insists that one is to chase ‘quality over quantity’; an obvious impetus towards throwing out all our old clothes, friends and negative habits in exchange for sartorial excellence, stellar companionship and a life brimming with purpose.
Yet despite all the strict rules and regulations attached to coming of age, I’d much rather ignore the impossible expectations of the world, whilst continuing to trust my gut and maintain the same level of buoyancy that has seen me to the age of 25.”
Disclaimer: I genuinely have no idea whether I have (a) Used the aforementioned words in their correct context and (b) Made any sense whatsoever but if you know better, I implore you to tell me otherwise.
Had to sneak that last one in there HA!