Here’s an extract from last week’s newsletter ……
The very first time I attended a writing workshop and it came to reading round the table I was amazed by just how different everyone’s work sounded and just how unique it was; no two writers were alike. I’m still amazed by this, every time I’m involved in a workshop I’m struck again by these particular and distinct voices.
In the world of writing, people talk a lot about finding your writer’s voice – finding your own way of saying what it is you have to say, what, in Natalie Goldberg’s words, you ‘are willing to be witness to.’ What I want to say is that you already have this voice, you don’t need to go searching for it in faraway places, you simply have to write and you will find it and grow into it. You can only fail to find your voice if you don’t write or if you try to write what you think writing should be, or what you think someone else wants to read. Bowing to pressure, however gentle, to write something in a genre or a style that’s not true to you as a writer, can cause you to temporarily lose your voice.
As writers we must believe in ourselves*, in our writing and what we do and our voice will take care of itself.
*This is not to say of course that we can’t learn from constructive criticism or be open to improving what we do.
To discover your voice and to keep your voice you must write. A few weeks ago I made an inventory of my writing so far this year – as well as editing and publishing work for Kindle it included 56 new poems, 10 new short stories and five serious revisions, 82 blog posts and 8 newsletters.
Taking an inventory of your writing can tell you where it sits in your priorities. Ask yourself are you writing enough and if not then how can you change that? Writing practice does not have to be about the next novel or story or poem – it can be café writing, lists, writing on any subject for the sake of it– and if you need practice then try this: take the following four subjects and write for five to ten minutes on each. Write anything, forget what you think good writing should sound like and let your voice out, let the writing take you where it will…
Felix Baumgartner’s leap into space (if you scroll down to the last post you can watch the You tube video here on my blog )
The garden at night
A bouquet of dead flowers
Have fun …and if you’d like to receive my Monday newsletter just sign up in the form on the right-hand side. And if you live in the North then stay WARM!