• Write what you know
• Write what you love to read
• Be true to your voice
• Every writer has their own, distinctive voice
• Write from the heart
• Innovate, don’t Imitate
Since the RNA conference last July, when the editors from HMB repeated that last phrase over and over, we Minxes have discussed ad nauseum what exactly they meant by it. I'm pretty sure I asked “What kind of airy fairy advice is that? Of course they don’t want us to imitate what others have written, but what do they want?”
It took The Vampire Diaries (see my series of previous posts) to make me realise that actually all the above advice, which we’ve heard dozens of times, phrased in endless ways, all boils down to just one thing: when you write, you have to be true to yourself.
I imagine that a lot of you blog readers out there might be going “duh!”. You probably know this already. But it was something I only discovered after a couple of days wallowing and wondering why I even bother to write when clearly my work is nothing more than mediocre, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to be it’s mediocre. I want to be stellar. (And just in case you think I’m being a tad arrogant here, read my earlier post, which were not entirely about The Vampire Diaries).
For me, realising this was a bit of a bombshell. Being true to oneself is the theme of my published novella, Let’s Misbehave. I try to live this in my every day life. So I’m not sure why it took me so long to cotton on when it comes to applying it to writing!
I’m not entirely sure of the answer (feel free to help me out here) but I suspect it might be because I haven’t yet discovered where my voice lies. I think that I fall somewhere between HMB’s Modern Heat and Romance lines (now wonderfully combined into the new Riva line in the UK) because that’s what I love to read. But is it really what I need to write?
We all know (we’ve heard it often enough) that you have to be passionate about what you write, because that passion will come through in your writing. I’d like to take this a step further and add that if you want to be extraordinary, then you need to be more than passionate, you need to write the stories that only you can write.
At last I understand what the editors at HMB are telling us. You have to write the stories that are true to your voice. And your voice is you.
So this is how we can each be extraordinary. By knowing ourselves, by being true to ourselves, we can rise above the mass of romance novels that are being published every day and we can each reach extraordinary heights.
Don’t imitate. You will never be able to write Harry Potter or Twilight, Frankenstein or Wuthering Heights. Not because it’s already been done. Not because you’re not a great writer. But because you are not JK Rowling or Emily Bronte. You’re you, and you should celebrate your uniqueness by writing the stories that are yours, and yours alone.
I know this is easier said than done, and might take a while to figure out, so I’m heading off now to write, and write some more, until I find where my true voice lies. While I’m off finding myself, please feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Have you found your ‘voice’ yet, or are you still searching? Have you tried to write for a certain line and got nowhere only to discover that perhaps your voice lies elsewhere? And do you have any magic tips on how to fast track all this soul searching and jump straight to extraordinary?