Now, while I associate my (more formal school principal) father with books, I associate my (less formal gym and substitute teacher) mother with words, specifically which words to use in any given situation and most importantly how to make them my own. If anyone were to ask me how I developed my writing style my response would most definitely be - from my mother.
|You are not my mother! You are a SNORT!|
One particular time I was on the phone with mum, talking about my upcoming career change and how my current employer wanted to do an exit interview. I had no experience with this before as it was my first job after graduating university so I sought out advice from her on my official departure letter. Well, it's a darn good thing I did because she certainly helped me avoid my first ever 'bridge burning'. While I enjoyed my job and most of my coworkers and had a lot of respect for my boss, I had some very honest opinions about the organization as a whole. My mom talked me through the finer points of communicating such opinions and the result was an exit letter that expressed my thoughts honestly and tactfully.
Later that year I received this book for Christmas:
|My mom's not-so-subtle advice|
More than just that, and back to the part about my mom insisting that I leverage my sense of humour as often as possible, I have taken it upon myself to ensure that when I have to send out one of those "I'm Going to be Out of the Office" or "Where's Andrew?" messages to my co-workers that I make it funny, or at the very least entertaining. With my mother's voice echoing in my head as I type, these are more often than not quite tasteful and completely appropriate for the office.
I bring this particular style, casual with a dry wit, into a lot of the things I write and if you read a few of my blog posts you will see what I mean. It is definitely a style I can call my own, and I owe a lot of that to my mother. Heck, she can take credit for even more than that. In Grade 9 she even sat me down at the kitchen table with an electric typewriter and forced me to practice typing until I was up to a respectable 45 words a minute (okay, it's not that respectable, but it was good enough for a passing grade. Just so you know, I'm up around 70 now). Where would I be now if I was just hunting and pecking with two fingers across the keyboard? Certainly not cranking out a blog post every Sunday, that's for sure.
My only wish now is that I was paying more attention when she was imparting advice on how to pick a tense and stick with it. I wonder if she'll give me a deal on editing when I'm finished the first draft of my novel...