Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why You Should Be Yourself When You Write

We are all different and we are all special. We are unique in that no two of us has exactly the same personality. Genes decide our physical attributes but our environment is mostly responsible for our personality. I say mostly because I do see a few personality traits passed down from generation to generation in my own family, and it probably happens in your family, too. 

Going on the premise that the kind of person we are depends on our life experiences, I will venture out on a limb and say this: As writers, we are individuals. Yes, we learn about writing from our English teachers who try to pound grammar and exposition into teen-aged minds. We also glean much about writing from the books and magazines we read. Much of that kind of learning is subconscious but our minds do register a lot when we read a book, even if it is strictly for pleasure. 

So, we have the background of learning in school, absorb from our own reading and certain inherited traits along with our life experiences. When you become a writer, all four work to create a writer who writes in his/her own style. It's what gives you the base for your writer's voice. Yours and mine are completely different. And should be! You shouldn't want to write like me, nor I you. 

Don't try to emulate a writer you love by attempting to write in exactly the same way. That writer is an individual and so are you. Be yourself. Be the writer that doesn't copy anyone else. Use your own voice, not another writer's voice. Finding your voice is simply another way of saying that your personality comes through in your writing and readers can recognize it when they read what you've written. 

All our life experiences work together to help us form our writing voice. It makes a difference as to whether you grew up on a farm or in a major city. It makes a difference if you grew up in an affluent suburb or a ghetto. It makes a difference if you grew up in one country and moved to another. It makes a difference if you quit school when you turned 16 or if you hold a PHD degree. It makes a difference if you grew up with four siblings or were an only child. It makes a difference if your parents were loving and nurturing or cold and distant in their parenting. 

It comes down to this. I'm me and you're you. But just as the little girl in the poster says, you're special and so am I. We all need to believe that as we journey on our writing path. We'll traverse much faster if we do because of our positive attitude. 

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