Bonnie's year end round up
was a terrific way to draw our 2013 Carpe Annum to a close. So much wisdom and
brain power in the same writing space! If you’re like me, one piece of advice
stood out and made you say Oh, yes! Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of it and/or
why had I forgotten it?
While all of our interviews shared amazing insights, this statement by Julie
Cantrell caused me to palm-smack myself in the forehead:
“I’m begging you…
write as if no one will ever read it. That’s the only way you’ll find your
true, original voice and feel free enough to reach the level of honesty readers
This is a powerful statement
with many possible implications. I’ve been here before, and I’ll bet you have,
How would I know whether or not I write in my
true, original voice?
If I don’t have it, how can I be sure when I find
How free do I want to be? Am I willing to go to
that level of honesty?
What if no one likes the one and only original
Some of these are legitimate concerns and some
are just plain whining with old-fashioned avoidance mixed in. Ahem.
We all want to be the best writers we can be, so
we gird our loins and wade into the fray. To start the process, we could read aloud a passage from one of our manuscripts, shutting out the voices criticizing our words and refusing to wrestle with the real or imagined expectations of friends
and family. This is not easily done. We could
write this one short passage over several times, allowing ourselves to be more
fearless with each attempt. After all, we've promised ourselves that no one will
ever read it. We can afford to write with abandon in private. Repeat after me: "I have nothing to lose and everything to
If we find our true, original voices, will we have the
courage to use them? We writers are sensitive creatures. Will we expose ourselves
to criticism if our true voices aren’t what others expect? Or will we find that readers click with our
honesty and devour our stories?
Think of the most honest, original voice you’ve enjoyed
reading. Was it safe? Was it like all the others? I’ll bet it kept you engaged and
made you crave the next book. Wouldn’t
it be great if readers said that about our stories? The possibility makes
it worth taking chances on ourselves.
Do you have the courage to find your true, original
voice? We’d love to hear about your progress. Be brave and experiment on.