Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beeeeeee Yourself

So as I sat down to write this post, I accidentally clicked "new blog" instead of the little pencil button used for creating posts. Yep. It's been that long. *face palm*


What have I been doing with my life, you ask? Writing. Lots and lots of writing. Between the Day Job and the Writing Cave, I haven't made much any time for blogging. And I figure that's okay, because in the end, I write to publish books, not blogs. Well. I suppose I'm going to publish this post as soon as I finish it but… well you get the point.

I've actually been putting this post off for awhile. I mean, what could I possibly say after so long of an absence? Well, I've been thinking a lot of self-doubt.

We all have it. I bet you even J.K. Rowling had it when she decided to write a novel for adults. Write something that isn't Harry Potter? How? The key is to not let it get the better of us. We have to be brave, look our ugly internal voices in the eyes (or mouths?) and not give up. Because that would be the easy thing to do, wouldn't it? Just give up. You wouldn't have to laugh nervously when someone asks you what you're doing with all your free time since you're too busy to hang out with them. You wouldn't get caught zoning out in the middle of a conversation because someone said something to dislodge your writer's block. And maybe for once, just ONCE you could do all your laundry AND fold it.

(Yes, that's all clean. This happens to other people, right?)

The thing is, we don't write because it's easy. We write because we're writers. It'd be like telling a fish not to swim. But even knowing that, it doesn't mean there's not that little voice in the back of our heads whispering that we're crazy for trying.

Here's the thing I've been struggling with lately: accepting my voice. Don't get me wrong. I like my voice. It's what makes me, me. But you read these great books with sexy, edgy voices who aren't afraid to "tell the truth" and sometimes I'm a little envious. I'd like to be as brave as that. So I start thinking, how can I make my book edgier? Maybe I'll kill my MC's mom, or maybe I'll give her a tattoo, or a nose-ring...

This is why we write in drafts.

I'm not an edgy person. My dark side gets about as dark as dark chocolate. And I have to remind myself that that's OKAY. That's not me. If I tried to be edgy and gritty when my MC and I are not, well for starters, it would sound ridiculous, as you can see. But also, it wouldn't be my truth. And that's what we have to remember. Write what feels right to you. That's not to say don't push yourself or broaden your horizons, but don't try to change your voice just because something's in style. Do that and it will sound absurd. It will sound forced. Besides, don't you want to be able to look at your baby and say with pride, without a shred of doubt, "I WROTE that!" with no one else's words but your own?

As Genie said in the Disney masterpiece, Aladdin, "Beeeeeeee yourself." :-D

Do you struggle with self-doubt? How do YOU silence it?

11 comments:

  1. That is so true. Stephen King even said that we write what comes out. One of these days I want to write a funny story with lots of silliness. Unfortunately for that dream, what comes out is dark, edgy, dangerous, scary.

    Be yourself and let your voice talk. You try and force it into a different shape and it won't work.

    Good luck with the writing. Can't wait to see it.

    Also, laundry is evil.

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    1. Thanks Andrew! It *is* hard, isn't it? Wanting to write something that doesn't come naturally to you. Maybe someday a special story will dictate that it wants to be written differently, but I guess until then we're stuck with what we've got :-)

      Laundry IS evil!!

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  2. For the record, you have AN AMAZING voice on the page. Jemma is an incredible voice, and I love her. And I'm so happy that you're happy with your own... ESSENCE! xoxoxoxo

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    1. Awww *hugs* Thanks Kelsey!!! I love YOUR voice!

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  3. It's so nice to see you pop up in my Google Reader! And I think you're spot on about voice. It does have to be your truth, or what's the point? And I agree with Andrew. Laundry is evil. =)

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    1. Haha thanks Annie! I'm going to *try* to make this whole blogging thing a more regular occurrence :-)

      Why isn't it appropriate to just wear dirty clothes? We should have an excuse, we're writers! It can be like a new game, Homeless or Writer :-)

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  4. I feel like I've been struggling with voice, too. Cause I'm not edgy either. I'm a writer. The most edgy thing about me are the words I write (and I guess say). My friend put it like this, "You're badass like Mulan...except with words!"

    That said, we DO have to silence that self-doubting voice. All limitations are in our minds. That means, things are only as difficult as we make them.

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    1. Haha hey well Mulan is AWESOME so that's totally a compliment!!

      And yeah, those voices can be pretty stunting. But you just have to keep trudging along and push past them. I was actually thinking about doing a follow-up post to this one about choosing *what* to write about (I'm currently between projects so have been thinking on this a lot) and I think it works the same way. Sometimes writers get freaked out by the market and what's hot that they forget to write the story that actually means something to them. Again, the VOICES! We just have to learn to not listen - or to figure out which is our true one and ignore the others :-P

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  5. I think there are two kinds of stories--ones with edgy plots and ones with edgy characters. It's okay to have a goody-goody character as long as crazy shit happens to her, and it's okay to not have as much plot if your book is really all about character. Having both is cool, too, but usually edgy characters end up craving normal lives and vice versa. It's capturing that exact insecurity that can make a story great.
    P.S. You should check out the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's a great writer/blogger support monthly hop.

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    1. Hmm I like that theory. I suppose I find that I'm always envious of the ones that have the edgy character, or BOTH, but that's not what my stories need right now. Who knows, maybe someday :-)

      And thanks for the tip, I'll definitely have to check that out!!

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  6. I try ignoring it. If I keep writing, keep loving it and the rest doesn't matter. But once I stop and think, a few times I get all depressed. So I try to keep loving my writing :)

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