I'm a Writer -- Now What?
A struggle I am learning many – if not all – writers face (aside from calling ourselves ‘writers’) is settling the matter of what to write. The temptation to write what we think other people will want to read lurks behind the next line, word and/or page. This is not only in terms of topics, but also in terms of voice. We read the works of other people in whatever medium we are also labouring in and are inclined to think, “If I wrote like so-and-so, then I, too, would have lots of people reading my stuff.”
But as many a writer has often said in one way or another, you have to write in your own voice about things you are passionate about and interested in. Maddeningly at times, this advice will come from writers you deem to be successful. So easy for them to say, right?
Well, yes and no.
It’s easy for them to say it (or maybe it’s not – I’ve never asked them) probably because they, too, have tried to write as somebody else and had it fall flat. So they add their voices to the crowd urging other writers to write what they themselves want to read, to find and use their unique voices in the hopes their mistakes won’t be repeated.
So now the question for you (if you haven’t sorted it out yet) and for me (because I’m still sorting it out) is, “What to write?” Again, this is not in terms only of topic, but also of voice. It’s not enough for me to simply settle on what to write about here or when I’m penning a fictional story – I also need to settle on how such things are to be put together.
As I ponder such things, I’m doing my best to keep the following advice in mind:
- “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” ~Cyril Connelly
- “The minute you create art in order to convince someone who doesn’t like you, to like you, you’ve taken a giant step toward creating art that you will ultimately not like.” ~Jon Acuff
I would also appreciate your input – if you have any advice or guidance to offer, please feel free to share it. Often other people see things in us that we have overlooked or discounted for one reason or another.
And as always, thank you for reading my words. I really do appreciate it.
Photo Credit: Brad Greenlee ©2010 (Flickr via Creative Commons)