Find Your Own Writing Voice

Photo by Gayle Martin

One thing we writers have in common, regardless of our genres, is our own unique writing voice. What’s a writing voice? Simply put, a writing voice is the way you organize your thoughts and put them into words. No two of us do this exactly the same way. For example, some writers are more descriptive. Others are more direct. Danielle Steele and Rosamunde Pilcher are two of my favorite authors. Both are amazing story tellers, but their writing voices are very distinct. I would never confuse a Danielle Steele novel with a Rosamunde Pilcher novel.

The other day one of my Facebook friends posted about having a hard time writing his novel. As writers, we all have our moments. However, he was trying to write like another author. I responded with, “You need to write like you, not like someone else.” He response was to let me know he’d changed the narrative from third person to first person, and he was a lot more comfortable writing in the first person. I’m not a big fan of first person narratives myself, but some readers like them, and if it works for him then thats’s what matters. There is no right or wrong narrative.

So, how do you find your writing voice? The best way I know would be to start writing. Grab a notebook and a pen, and start keeping a journal. Writing classes can also be a big help. Every community college offers writing courses of some kind, and they’re usually very affordable. I also recommend taking the classes in person if at all possible. Having a real live instructor makes a huge difference. Other students can be helpful as well. If you’re unable to take a class in person there are online Master Classes for writing. As you learn more techniques, and become more comfortable with writing, you’ll discover your writing voice.

While other writers can certainly influence us, we should never set out to emulate them. There was only one Mark Twain, one Jane Austen, and one Edgar Allen Poe. No one could ever replace them. Likewise, there is only one you, so write like you.

Gayle Martin

 

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The Cure for Writer’s Block

Image by Gayle Martin

It happens to all of us at one time or another. We run into a proverbial brick wall and suddenly find ourselves unable to come up with something to write about. Oh, no! It’s the dreaded writer’s block. Ugh!

Creativity is a funny thing. We can’t  turn it on and off whenever it’s convenient. This can be particularly frustrating for fiction writers who have to juggle their writing between work and family time, only to end up staring at a blank screen or paper and wondering what to do with it.

Sometimes switching gears and writing about another topic can help. I have friends who typically work on two or three different books at the same time. If they get stuck on one they simply set it aside and work on another one. However, if you’re like me, and you only work on one story at a time, then you may have to get a little more creative. Try stepping away from the computer and doing a project that’s been on your to do list for too long. Those nagging issues really can effect your creativity.

If that doesn’t help, then why not take a break and do something you enjoy doing? Bake some cookies. Play a round of golf. Go to a movie, or a ball game. Take a day trip somewhere. Read a book that you haven’t had time to read. Call a friend or relative you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Taking a time out and doing something different, particularly if it’s something you really enjoy, but don’t get to do too often, gives your mind a chance to focus on other things, giving your creative muse a rest.

Don’t worry about your story. It’ll come back. And when it does, you can pick up where you left off.

Gayle Martin

And Now for a Time Out

© 2019 by Gayle Martin. All Rights Reserved.

I’ve finally completed my latest Marina Martindale contemporary romance novel. Now I’m ready for a much needed break. In fact, I typically go on hiatus after a new novel is published.

Writing truly is one of my life’s passions. However, I’m also aware of the thin line between creativity and burnout, also known as the dreaded writer’s block. Burnout can happen when we overextend and push ourselves too hard, although sometimes we’re so into what we’re doing we’re not aware we’re overdoing it.

Once I finish one novel I’m already formulating the next one in my mind, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is starting page one the day after my current novel goes to press. Like the tide, creativity ebbs and flows, and none of us want it to ebb unexpectedly. I’ve learned, through experience, that the best thing to do after finishing a novel is to put my creative writing muse on the back burner, even as ideas for the next book pop into my head. Or, should I say, most especially when those new ideas are popping into my head. I’ll jot them down, and perhaps start working on a treatment, but I won’t take them any further anytime soon.

I enjoy my down time between novels. It can last for a few weeks to a few months because I’m no longer on a time schedule. Then, when I feel I’m ready, I’ll start my next book. Until then, however, it’s my time for me.

Gayle Martin