I was thinking about style recently. Mine and yours. Writing styles. Painting styles. Even personal fashion styles. It takes time to build and figure out who you are. It takes time to sit with your style a while and see if it feels good on your soul.
My writing style came about first from writing privately about my pain. There was truth and hurt and beauty and faith in my words. They took a while to find their path. From the pain, came inspiration. I wanted to understand and move on from my hurt, and as a result I looked at some of the words I’d written to see if others could benefit. If others would understand.
There’s always a balance with writing. You want to share your pain so others can learn the lessons you did (and so they can learn it all in much less time, with much less hurt) but you also don’t want to appear whiny and self-indulgent. How do you know the difference? I think you have to listen to the people around you: your friends and family, the readers who love your work, the ones who are critical, and your own gut instinct. Take it all in, and then self-reflect and meditate and listen to God.
And know this: it’s never a perfect world. What feels right to you may not work for someone else. Concentrate on the kindred spirits you meet. You’re here to build each other up.
Don’t get angry at those who either hate or don’t get your work. If you had their experience in life, maybe you wouldn’t like your work either. But you create the things you do because of your unique experience, and don’t devalue it. You are here for a reason.
I see people all the time who enjoy someone’s work and then try to do the same exact thing, even copying the style. You can’t. You can, however, take what you love about that work and create your own piece, that includes your own vision. Your personal style can be influenced by people, but it can’t be copied. A copycat style can be spotted a mile away and it’s never as good as your own original.
I’ve been thinking about style lately because I’m new to mixed media, and while I feel like it’s been a blessing on my soul, I know I’m also developing my style. This is new to me. I had painted one way for a long time but I had not tried to sell my work. I just did it because I loved it.
But now, I do it with a purpose. The same purpose I have for my writing. I want to help people. I want to bring joy or make people feel better. I want them to see the beauty in God’s faithfulness.
My writing style may evolve a bit, but it’s steadily there. If you’ve read my blogs or articles or books, you recognize it. That’s what style is. It may change, but the core of what it represents stays the same. I want my art to reflect the meaning and purpose of my writing.
But developing a style, it takes time. Patience. (I’m so not good at patience.) I just want to be done . You know? Then suddenly I finish a painting and instantly realize how I want to do the next one differently. It’ll be that way for a while, I guess. I know I’m getting there, though.