Learn from others, but write your own story

This past week my husband and I were having drinks and great conversation. He’s in the midst of starting a new business venture, and as you already know, I’m in the middle of my first novel writing experience. We began to relate our experiences. He looks at other businesses to see what he can learn from them, and I look at other authors to see what I can learn. After going back and forth, we both realized we want to learn from others, but we don’t want to be just like them. We want to set ourselves apart.

When it comes to new writers/authors, we envy the writing style of those that we read.  I always feel less than what I read. That’s why reading can be so hard when writing our own novels. With every line we read, we begin to edit our own work. Well, I guess I can’t speak for all writers, but it seems those I’ve talked to, feel similar to me. We shouldn’t do this to ourselves. First of all, it keeps us from reading, which we all love to do. Second, it takes away from what we can accomplish in our own works.

Here’s my point of view:

Don’t strive to be another author. Be who you are. Write your way, in your style. Don’t be scared to put your heart on the page. Don’t edit so much that you cut yourself out of what your writing. If you do, the reader won’t truly know the person behind the story. We tend to scrutinize every word we write, and that’s okay, it’s what we do, but don’t let it hinder you from digging deeper.

Don’t get me wrong. Since I’ve started the editing process, my writing has changed, but that’s because I’ve listened and learned about how to write. It’s okay to change and grow, but we have to be receptive to doing so without losing our inner writing self. The craft of writing is always a learning experience, but we have to keep our original passion of writing in focus. If we don’t, the fun of writing will fade, and we find ourselves in a revolving door of struggle.

Writing is personal. Be YOU and be the best writer YOU can be. We have to realize that the author(s) we stive to be, hopefully, threw caution to the wind and wrote from their own heart. We have to do the same as new writers and authors, and I have to think that those who are published a million times over have to constantly keep the same vision in front of them. Some do it better than others. Some of my favorite authors have become monotonous and I feel like I’ve read the same story over and over. It’s disappointing, but through realizing this, I’ve learned that fresh, new authors are so much more fun to read, which keeps me excited about my own quest of becoming published.

Learning can bring us confidence in our writing, but it can also cause us to question who we are as writers. It’s a constant internal fight we have when we pick up the pen. When you feel lost, go back to the very first feeling you had when you wrote your first piece of work. The joy. The love. The passion. Bring those feelings together and get refocused.

Sometimes we have to fall back in love with our writing, and when we do, it’s better than we can ever imagine.

Until next time…

2 Comments

Filed under February 2012

2 responses to “Learn from others, but write your own story

  1. A writer friend of mine once said that being a little neurotic is a job requirement for being a writer. By that she meant being both insecure and egotistical enough to believe that what we write will be interesting to others.

    You’re right about the see-saw effect of learning from others and holding on to our unique voice and vision at the same time. And then, once you finish the book, you get to decide what publishing and promotional paths to follow.

  2. Great post and good advice!

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