Some people absorb the spoken accents of whatever place I'm in. I absorb the written accent of whatever text I read. My poor 6th grade English teacher got to read my essays as I swept through Dickens, Bronte, and Shakespeare (that was a particularly amusing phase). It's been a blessing; I can pick up disciplinary writing styles swiftly and (after a number of iterations for feedback) write things "in the language" of a certain group of people, given sufficient opportunity to "overread" (as opposed to overhear) them enough beforehand.

My problem now: a large portion of the text I'm reading these days looks like this (direct quote from a document):

The project represents an important step... to catalyze even broader conversations across the American engineering education enterprise on creating a vibrant engineering academic culture for scholarly and systematic innovation in engineering education to ensure that the U.S. engineering profession has the right people with the right talent for a global society.

Consequently, my own writing has started filling up with grandiose, generic platitudes that feel good but actually have no content. (Alternative: technical documentation that is full of data and precision, and devoid of soul, coherence, or flow.) Gah. Sharp edges! Snap! Wittiness! Where did they go? But these are the foundational works of my (nascent) field; I have to read them if I want to learn my way in.

So I flood myself with more reading to counter it, strategically... reading good bloggers as a palate cleanser before I write, reading science writing for the general public right before I go to bed, reading technical textbooks I admire when I see my words slipping into vagueness (see, that's why I have a textbook collection -- they are voices to absorb). I rewrite them into Mel-style notes, distributing single-pagers flecked with puns and colloquialisms to my classmates to stand in for 100-page essays written as many years ago (the Mel-style single-pagers are a hit). I try to stay aware.

But still, my voice dulls. I am dissatisfied. I wish I had a better way to watch this skill, to shape it. An editor? A coach? I actually have no idea how one does this... what is the name for the kind of feedback I'm looking for, and who can give it to me? How do I find them?