Develop your voice
Keep your voice unique
Make sure your query letter captures your voice
I liked the voice of this novel.
Their blog has such a distinctive voice.
What the hey are we talking about? Sometimes (not all the time by any means, but sometimes) I think the word is thrown around without us really thinking about what we mean by it. Don't know how to compliment that piece of flash fiction? Just say, I liked the voice.
Haven't a clue what that poem actually meant? It had an interesting voice.
You know what I mean.
I asked myself, Self, what on earth is your voice?
(btw, have you noticed that when you repeat "voice" over and over like I just have that it starts to sound REALLY weird. Just saying)
When I was working on my novel, I was sure I had found my voice. *angelic singing* I was sure I was writing something that no one else had ever done and that it would be the greatest novel of the century (okay, so not that last part.)
I finished it. People read it and complimented it. It was WAY too long so I sat down to edit it.
Suddenly it was the most blah thing ever. The characters (well, some of them) were flat and unrealistic and it sounded like every other Christian Historical Romance I had ever read. oogh.
So it hides there in its folder waving at me occasionally.
I started a couple of other projects, but everything was falling flat. I had lost my voice.
That's right, I had writer's laryngitis. (this is in fact a real disease, soon to be named after me)
A year ago I started blogging. Whoo. hoo. Please, spare yourself the trouble and never go back to read some of my first posts (the Lost stuff is pretty decent, but I wrote pretty much the WORST book reviews ever).
So I didn't really do much of anything here. For quite a while. (looking back over it, I pretty much ONLY wrote Lost stuff, which no one read, because I wasn't going to any blog but Nik at Nite. pretty sad - not that I was following her blog, because her blog is awesomesauce, but that I wasn't checking anyone else's out, but expecting other people to find me.)
Then I started poking around to some other bloggers' sites. Wow! There were cool people here! And we had similar interests! And they were funny or serious, but always entertaining. Maybe I should try writing like they did!
(hint. If you are looking for your voice, imitating other people will not be very successful)
However, it will make you write more. So I wrote. And I wrote. And I posted a LOT of garbage. But then I started to write about things I actually cared about. Like my job and the ridiculous people there. And my writing struggles. And more Lost (a little bit). And some of the TV I was watching. And my family.
I visited more blogs. I wrote more garbage. I started to write some not so garbage. People started coming over and reading. Crazy.
Then I started the A-Z challenge AND started ScriptFrenzy on the SAME day. Because I am insane.
So I had to write every day. Except Sundays. That is a lot of days and a lot of blank pages to fill. But I had to write, because I didn't want to fail. I had to come up with something halfway decent to post about Every. Single. Day.
I'll be the first to admit that some of these days are pretty much garbage. Especially toward the middle when my brain started melting.
But something remarkable happened around "S" and around page 50 of my script. (of which I am woefully behind on, but am still holding out hope for a win) my laryngitis seems to have cleared up.
It was also about this time that I got the following two comments within a 24 hour period.
(I hope they don't mind that I'm repeating them here :)
Both commented shortly after I had done a late night comment on their blog.
Rebecca, you are too funny -- although that's bad about the post that hit the twilight zone.
I like your posts...but I love your comments. Very funny.
I read those and thought, "huh. I'm funny?"
I have NEVER considered myself a funny writer. Sarcastic? absolutely. Humorous? perhaps. But not funny. I don't do funny. Every time I try to be funny I'm so not. At. All.
So I asked myself, self, what did you do that made them think you were funny, because you really should try it more often.
I love funny books and it has always made me sad that I can't write funny.
I thought about it and realized that I hadn't overthought things. When I comment on someone's blog I don't agonize over my words. I don't go back and forth to make sure that I haven't repeated myself (at least not much), I don't self-edit to death (much). Mainly I just jot down my reaction or what I'm thinking or whatever random thing popped into my head and hit post. This can be dangerous, but it is also very freeing.
I think that's when it hit me. Your voice is what comes out when you aren't worrying about your voice or about what someone is going to think or about whether it's "right". Your voice has to be authentic.
I had over-edited my voice until it pretty much disappeared. But this month has helped me get past that.
Is every word I write going to be not garbage? No. (umm... yeah, that sentence pretty much was garbage)
Is every post going to be scintillating and attention grabbing? No.
Is my story going to magically write itself? No way on earth.
But my voice is growing stronger with every word I type. My voice will continue to develop and grow as I do, but I'm not as worried about "is this my voice?" anymore. It's my voice because it's me. When I just let myself go and don't think about HOW I'm writing, everything flows much more easily. Editing is still a monster, but at least I'm editing me and not someone I was trying to be.
Have you thought about voice? Do you write your blog in a different voice than you use in your fiction or even in real life? Was there something that helped you to find your voice?
And here's an extra little treat - just a little song by someone who's "voice" I really enjoy (and it's pretty much my favorite song right this minute)