From Julius with Love

I’ve learned a lot since I started blogging, most of it good, but one thing I’ve learned stands out as a man among men. Not figuratively but literally. Because—wait for it—I write like a man.



For some reason I seem to have the old Frankie Valli song “Walk like a man” running through my head when I write about this, but anyway, in one of my recent blogs, I mentioned that in a future blog I would explain “why and how I know I write like a man.” In a response to that, I got one of the sweetest comments ever from Cynthia Robertson, a blogging tweeting friend, when she said:

“…What do you mean you write like a man? You write like Julia. One of a kind Maine girl. Perfect.”


I know, sweet, right? (In this case, especially the part about me being a girl!)

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you, however, that I only write fiction like a man. Blogging? Like a woman. (So maybe I better send Cynthia a sample of my fiction so she can comment on that….)

Anyway, it doesn’t completely take away the sting of the reality. For one thing, even admitting I write like a man—doesn’t that make you wonder who I really am? I mean there’s always the fear in the back of all our minds that we don’t really know who’s on the other end of the Internet connection we’ve gotten to know.

Am I really “Julia, one of a kind Maine girl,” or am I perhaps “Julius, one of a kind 16-year-old-kid hammering away at his laptop in the dark basement of his parent’s home”? I assure you it’s the former….but I’m just saying…we never do really know.

I know what you’re thinking—this wacky babe still hasn’t explained how she even knows that she writes like a man. What is this kooky chick talking about? When I first started on Twitter, way back about what feels like a hundred years ago (but is in actuality only a little over 3 months), I saw a link to a website that would tell me if I wrote like a man or a woman.

At that site, you paste in at least 500 words of your writing, and voila, you find out if you write like a man or a woman. Now on the surface, this may sound like an arbitrary ruling…man vs. woman. How do “they” know?

Well apparently a team of Israeli scientists wrote a computer software program that predicts an author’s sex (with 80% accuracy). According to the developers, women are more comfortable and more likely to be “involved” in their talking, thinking and writing, like about relationships (using more pronouns). Men like to be “informational” in the way they write—about things (using more words that identify nouns, like a, the, that or one, two, more).

Kind of the whole Mars-Venus thing again.

But why does it really bother me? It’s one more way for me to question my writing. If I write like a man, will others—for example publishers and agents—not look twice at me? Will they start to read and think: “This woman writes like a man, feh to her!” Then fling my manuscript to the dark corner of her (or his!) office?

Maybe I’m “too straightforward and informational” as a writer? For years I wrote technical manuals and user guides, writing informational information for informative purposes. Is this the reason? Is it something I can be trained to not do? Maybe go to a de-programming school somewhere to figure out how to get in touch with my female-writing-brain?




Or maybe there’s a support group for gals like me: “Hi, my name is Julia, and I write like a man…”

Or maybe it’s just the way I write, my style, my voice, okay man? When I blog: woman. When I write fiction: man. It’s just how this wacky babe, chick, gal, girl, woman rolls.

How about you? Man or Woman? Do you have the conjones (or is it ovaries?) do find out? Here’s a link to the Gender Genie…let me know!




Cheers,

Julia

Comments

  1. I think I write like a woman. I feel I creat warm and sensitive characters with a sense of humor. Just my own opinion. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Alexandra says:

    What a strange idea! I will have to check out Gender Genie. Did you try pasting in different 500 word excerpts to see if the program reached the same conclusion?

  3. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Dude, I can’t wait to try out that link! And I want to try it on several different pieces of writing – like Alexandra suggested, cause I write all different, depending on the subject matter.

    Hey, if you’re a 16 year old boy, I still love ya! (You know…I’ve heard you can grow mushrooms in a dark basement.)

  4. Very interesting… I tried a couple of excerpts, and it looks like it depends on the characters I’m writing, or maybe what they’re doing. In one scene they guessed I was female, in another, male.

  5. Anyes says:

    I copied/pasted a bit of a blog entry and it seems I blog as a woman

    I’ll try to do the same with my fiction writing and see where it gets me. Interesting Julia or should I say Julius? 😉

    Thank you for sharing

  6. Haley says:

    This is a really interesting post. I’m also a woman who apparently writes like a man — I tested four articles and four blog posts, and six of the eight came out with the guess that I was a man.

  7. CMSmith says:

    I’m so glad you wrote on this one. I was hoping you would. So many things I could say about it.

    First, the blog is the one where you really shine through, so you can relax.

    Many decades ago, when I was in college earning a Chemical Engineering degree I took hits in my English lit class for the “straightforward and informational” way I wrote. I got over it.

    I’m sure if I visited the site I would score as a woman—I’m too much of a touchy feeling, I’m crying in my soup here, kind of writer. I can live with that.

    I can also write like a man—-face it, that’s exactly the way we were taught back in the day.

    The way I look at it is, you’re ahead of the game if you can do both. Use what you need when you need it.

    Great post.

  8. Julia, girl from Maine, now you have me intriguedof what it means to write like a man I’ve always just written, and never considered a gender aspect to the voice of my writing. Gonna check and see what comes up (but like you, I don’t know how is feel if they told me I write like a girl) 🙂

  9. Ado says:

    Dear Julius: I will check out the Gender Genie but I know that I am not Ado but Addonis! Ha!
    When I think of good writing I think of man-writing. It is sexist but I do. I think of Hemingway, man of men. Probably because I studied men writers in college (but Faulker is a flowery girly-girl, no?)
    Of course there are kick-ass female writers I think of but the one who comes to mind (my favorite) is a man-writer: Gertrude Stein.
    Babbling…bye now!

  10. From Tracie says:

    I tried out the Gender Genie, pasted one fiction piece, one nonfiction, and one blog post….and it came out male every time! Interesting and unexpected.

    I guess it is a good thing that my name works as a male or female!

  11. Kristi–Take the test and you can find out for sure! check out gender genie link at the end of my blog! Thanks for the comment and visit to my blog!

    Alexandra, Yes, many samples! All fiction was male, all blog was female! Of course they are only accurate 80% of time! Thanks for the comment!

    Cynthia, Never thought of the mushrooms, cool idea, dude! Okay, my mom is like totally making me come upstairs for mother’s day. Later. Luv ya, Julius

    Eric, Interesting — you also are part of the 20% inaccuracy rate! Thanks so much for the visit to my blog and the comment!

    Anyes, Good luck with the fiction writing — it’s an interesting little exercise, isn’t it? Luv ya, Julius

    Haley, Interesting that you got an inaccurate reading too! Let’s start the “write like a man” club!! 🙂 Thanks so much for the comment and visit to my blog.

    Christine, You are very very kind–what lovely compliments you’ve given me in your comment! It’s so true that I can use my different writing styles depending on what I’m writing. It’s just the fiction that I’m a little insecure on….I need to do something about that! 🙂 Thanks so much for the nice compliments! p.s. so interesting about ChemE and the hits you took in English class; I wonder if you still woud’ve gotten hits in English class if you were a male?!

    Kenneth, I will be so curious to see how you come up on the test! Gotta say, it’s weird to think even a test thinks I’m a guy….I mean, I’m a mom, celebrating mother’s day today, REALLY 🙂

    Dear Addonis, Wanna shoot some hoops sometime? Interesting take on the male/female writing. It is true that I’ve actually always preferred male authors, so I think you may be on to something…love Hemingway’s journalistic style (agree on Faulkner 🙂 and I’m trained as a journalist….interesting! Luv ya, Julius

    Tracie, You are so smart to have a M/F name! (your parents were so smart!) — I think it must help with a lot in life! It’s so interesting that another female commenter came up male in the gender genie. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comment!

  12. Hmmm, apparently I too write like man! Maybe I walk and talk like one too??? LOL

    Interesting little test, thanks for the link!

  13. Leah says:

    This is hilarious! I’m kinda scared to try it. But I bet I write like a man too. I’m too straight-forward and informational as well. I don’t use a lot of adjectives to describe things. I state the fact. It’s from the journalism background, I’m sure.

  14. Leah, Thanks for your comment! I will be so interested to hear whether you test as a man or a woman with the gender genie, please come back and let me know. I was not particularly surprised with my “ruling,” because I know my writing is pretty straightforward as well. It’s weird though when you think: really? a man? Sigh.