This past week, in a conversation, my writing style was compared to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper’s (pictured below), and one of my all-time favorite radio and television writers Andy Rooney’s (CBS News and 60 Minutes-pictured above). Now just so we understand each other, I believe both Richard Roeper and Mr. Rooney are far more superior writers than I. With that cleared up I will continue. I was compared not for the quality of my writing per se, but for the overall tone my articles.
Finding one’s “voice” in writing is a daunting task. I spent most of my college undergraduate years learning how to find a voice then I trained diligently to hone that voice. There are so many things to consider in the narrative voice, but the real concern of every writer is how the narrative voice is received.
The constructive criticism I was given said the person, or people I sound like (in my articles) come across as real jerks (actually, a word other than jerks was used, but we won’t go there). Then he went on to explain; “However, you bring up some good points. Things I didn’t consider before I read your article.” I was pleased to hear someone was reading my blog, and even more pleased to know I was making sense.
Then he continued, “The thing with your writing is… the way you write… as candid as you are and the words you use, people will either love you or they will hate you”. This sentiment hit home with me. On the one hand, I consider the writers I had been grouped with, Roeper and Rooney, giants in the industry. I must admit I do not follow Roeper or know very much about his writing style. However, Andy Rooney is my all-time favorite. I love the way Andy framed his words. The thing you could always know with Andy is you were going to hear the truth, it was not going to be sugar coated, and it was going to be an intelligent assessment void of personal bias or political influence.
To be in the same category with Andy Rooney is a great honor. As a writer, I have a hard time accepting the fact there is such a defined line in my narrative voice. To be loved, or hated with no gray area, is a fine line to walk—it is exacting and unyielding. I do not want to be seen as a prude, malcontent, or an unhappy old codger, because that is simply not true. I am a passionate, deliberate, and respectful, writer whose main objective is to promote a higher understanding of the interest, arguments, and topics my articles promote. My aim is to carry out my goal honorably and I intend to do it honestly. If the truth and my narrative voice steps on a few toes along the way, like Richard Roeper and Andy Rooney, I am going to have to learn to accept the unavoidable. Love it or hate it, my voice is… my voice!
This is The Stinking Truth and I am Dane Allen.