A sort of add-on to my last Writing post:
The question of authorial voice, tone, genre, and the like also gets into one’s adaptability as a writer. This is, really, one reason I quoted Darwin and Morehei Ueshiba (O-sensei) for writing earlier, even though they were discussing natural selection and aikido respectively.
Being able to adapt to different tones and perspectives is a very important skill in writing, I think. It may also be required, depending on the writer’s situation. I’m likely biased here, thought, since I’m a fan of adaptability over all, which is one reason I’m a big fan of liberal arts education (but that’s another story and post) and aikido (an apocryphal quote from an anonymous aikido sensei goes, “Your mistake was assuming there are rules”).
Acquiring experience writing in different genres and undertaking different types of writing helps improve one’s writing. Likewise, reading both in quantity and variety is helpful for writers. On one hand, both practices enhance vocabulary. Reading also exposes the reader to different styles, voices, and methods. Reading a variety of works also exposes the reader to myriad subjects, positions, and points of view, from which synthesis and new solutions and ideas are born. I’ve also found in the last decade of teaching that those who read a lot tend to write better over all.
All of the above should ultimately bring us back to authorial voice, tone, genre, and perspective. Why? Because through practice and reading, the developing writer’s (and we are all developing writers, no matter how experienced) voice and style, even writing and pre-writing method(s) evolve.
(By evolve, I do not necessarily mean to imply steady improvement or advancement, but rather evolve in the biological sense of adapting to better suit one’s environment. And this is a good thing.)