“Believe in yourself and in your own voice,
because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does.
Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice
will often have trouble at the start of his or her career –
because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous.
But in the end, only the strong survive.”
Most writers are blessed (although some would say, cursed) with the uncanny ability to see through another person’s outward façade, body language and emotional barriers. Good writers are keen observers. We watch. We don’t just listen, we hear. And we notice – everything. Then, we write.
Similarly, a voracious reader opens up a book, in anticipation of a good read – expecting to be transported into someone else’s words, someone else’s thoughts. The reader has high expectations. He or she wants to soak up all that the writer has to say. But when the words seem forced, when the thoughts do not ring true – the reader is left deflated and unsatisfied.
It all boils down to one word: Authenticity. When a writer is ready to commit his or her observations, experiences, life lessons and creativity to paper, it must be done clearly and in an authentic voice. If the writing is not authentic, the reader will detect it in a flash. If a story appears forced to the reader, it is forced.
Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
A writer should never worry about being popular. We can’t please everybody. There will always be those who take umbrage at what we say. Conversely, there will be just as many who will champion us. One has to be philosophical about the whole writing experience. When we are true to ourselves, when we write in an authentic voice – we should be happy with the end result.
… this should not preclude us from exercising the art of self-restraint. When a writer is passionate (and believe me, I know whereof I speak), it becomes an interesting balancing act of saying what needs to be said, yet reigning the words in a tad – to avoid rabid repetition.
A word to the wise: gather together an unbiased focus group of people and have them read and critique the manuscript. Heed their feedback well, without taking it personally. Then, apply it. We are all classmates in a lifelong Continuing Education program. The objective must always be to learn and to keep on learning, until we are dead and buried.
On that lively note, I shall bid you all Godspeed as you continue your writing journey.
Be true to yourself and to your craft. The best is yet to come.
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