Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blog Chain - Hearing Voices

It's blog chain time again. Didn't I just post? I've been in a revision time warp and just barely poked my head out. The super fantastic Sarah posed the question this time around:

How did you find your particular voice as a writer?

Your voice as a writer is the make it or break it secret ingredient. When I sat down to seriously take a stab at writing, I have to admit, it was like the equivalent of vanilla ice cream narrative. Not exactly a taste-bud stimulator. I was so worried about seeming "professional", using my words correctly, and sounding "proper"--or at least what I conceived proper writing to be. What I hadn't taken in to account was that I omitted "ME" from the story.

My second book was better, loose. I allowed my characters their personalities, but it still wasn't there. I was still afraid to let go, to let myself be heard. I hid behind what I thought people wanted to hear. It wasn't until I had one of those f**k it moments that I truly found my voice. I erased all of my preconceived notions and decided to throw the words out there and see what happens.

I let my character be who she wanted to be. I let a little of myself out on the page. I didn't worry about the profanity, the silly sayings that are mine alone, and the smart-ass tenor of the words. I let the story breathe and it came to life. I'm proudest of this book. It's gotten me the most attention. I've worked harder on it than any other project because it's a refection of how far I've come and a testament to how difficult it was for me to break down the walls and let my creativity take the lead. You have to trust yourself. You can't be afraid to be yourself. You have to bleed into every single word. And once you allow yourself to open up to your craft, you'll find your voice.

Check out Kate's post before mine and Sandra's tomorrow to read about how they found their voices!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog Chain: 2010 Writing Resolutions

It's the first blog chain of the new year, and Bonnie asks:

What are your writing resolutions for the year 2010?

I actually almost asked to skip this round. Yesterday was a particularly bad day for Amanda, the writer, and I thought about resolving to introduce my laptop to the snow-covered front yard. It was that bad. I almost resolved to pack it in: Put a fork in me, I'm DONE.

But after the sobbing and a manic desire to eat many bags of gummy fruit snacks, I pulled myself together. I put my cell phone minutes to work and I leaned on the shoulders of the fabulous friends and kindred spirits I have in the writing community. What an awesome feeling to connect with people who live thousands of miles away. I feel blessed that I can dial someone up, someone I've never talked to in person, and dive into an instant conversation that lasts over an hour.

I vented, I whined, I bitched and I moaned. And--I feel better. My friends pulled me from the ledge. And even though I'm still a little shell-shocked, I feel like I can sit at my computer and write this post about what I resolve to do in this fresh, new year.

I will listen to my peers and heed their advice. I will crit as many manuscripts as I can possibly read. My friends deserve it. I will continue to query my current novel, because I BELIEVE that it will find a home. I resolve not to neglect my two works in progress and I will finish them both by the end of 2010.

And last, but not least: I won't let this industry beat me down. I won't fall apart because of one bad experience. I won't let someone dash the self-confidence that I have fought two years to acquire. I won't allow a rejection or negative feedback to crush my spirit.

Check out Rebecca's resoltions before mine, and Sandra's resolutions tomorrow.