Having taken over teaching two classes in the middle of the school year, I’ve been thinking a lot about schtick lately, both in writing and in teaching. What I mean by this the individuality or persona a person brings to their craft and how they practice it. I don’t mean this in the sense of being a poseur, but it’s second nature to incorporate some aspect of our repertoire of content, body language, personality, humor, communication style, vocabulary, depth of engagement with audience, and delivery, and leave others out for any given audience, “Schtick” may not be the exact word, but it’s in the semantic range. I’ve known that for the classes I’ve taught this entire school year, my schtick seems to work well most of the time. But in taking over two new classes, I m wary of assuming that past results will predict future outcomes.
My theory is the same goes for developing a writing voice. It seems that you sort of “fake it ’till you make it. A writer continues to expand his repertoire, hone his style, and venture out into new territory until he gets an idea of what seems to work, and then proceeds to future hone his craft. It’s interesting that as I listen to writers speak about their craft, they don’t seem to find that their eighth or tenth book is any easier than the first book. One still must do the research, writing, revising, and editing under a deadline, and hopefully, work to the point of diminishing returns rather than beyond it.
What thoughts do you have about “schtick”? How have you been able to personalize your schtick to become an effective communicator?