An image of a novelist as a melancholy, moody artists who dons black as penning books during fits of insomnia or alcoholic inspiration pervades much of our society’s view of writers. No doubt some writers are like this, and the fact that some of the most famous were – the existentialists and the beat writers typically wore black while Hemingway drank continuously – has no doubt contributed to the stereotype that writers are restless and unhappy.
Unfortunately, this also has led many budding novelists to believe that they can’t be successful unless in a state of “discontent.”
If there is an overarching temperament that is important to all fiction writers, curiosity about life and others arguably is paramount. Should that curiosity lead to discontent and anxiousness, then the author can write the kind of stuff of that discontented writers like to read. Hopefully that curiosity instead leads to a sense of self-improvement and love of craft so that one can master – or even influence – the genre that you write in.
I have found the best writers aren’t necessarily the smartest, the smoothest, or those with the biggest vocabulary. The best writers are those that possess an unforgettable personality.
A writing personality is just as real, unique, and nuanced as your personality in everyday life -- except you only release it when you create content. And if you can create content that brims with personality, I guarantee that people will love reading it. They’ll come back to it again and again. They will share it.
Your personality becomes your authentic signature, a trademark that appeals to your target audience. Not to mention, it'll serve as a source of incredible brand power and potential.
1) Embrace your (writing) personality.
The problem with a writing personality is that most people don’t realize that they should have one. Instead, they try to follow the rules and regulations handed down to them by a well-meaning 10th-grade composition teacher. Or, if they do realize the importance of a writing personality, they try to mimic someone else’s personality.
You have to discover and shape your own personality in your writing. It takes time and effort, but it’s possible. Each of these tips will help you do just that.
2) Pick a focus and stick to it.
To have a consistent writing personality, you need to start by having a consistent area of focus. This can be something broad like marketing or more specific like social media. The important thing is that you're not all over the place.
Food blogger Ree Drummond is a great example of a writer who has a clear topic. She could write about anything and do a darn good job, however, she uses her writing personality to focus on one topic, and one topic only.
Break grammar rules.
Some people are inveterate rule breakers. And that’s okay. While we don't recommend you throw grammar out the window, breaking a rule every once and a while can serve as a great way to amp up your personality.
What kind of grammar rules should you break? It depends. Here are some common ones:
Sentence fragments: “Seriously. I mean, people, really.”
Punctuation: “I. Just. Can’t. Even.”
Starting sentences with conjunctions: “But I’m okay with that.”
Using “like”: “It’s not like you’ve sinned.”
Using a preposition at the end of a sentence: “You’ve got to get your traffic up!”
Again, be careful with rule-breaking. If you’re frivolous with your grammar, people may start to suspect your intelligence rather than respect your personality.
Get to know your audience better.
The principal group of people who should shape your personality is your audience.
Why? Because they are the ones consuming, accessing, and subscribing to it. Make sure that your personality does not cross their boundaries of proprietary, offend their sensibilities, or rub them the wrong way.
5) Highlight a personality trait that you have in real life.