Please Kill Me,
Good morning my readily absorbent literary minds. Happy Monday to you, as always I hope that you’ve returned to me in your best (if not I’ll take worst) condition to date. I know that my postings have been a little sketchy as of late – the holidays tend to bring out the busiest of schedules (and the bourbon monster).
“ROAARR!!!!!” (you see?)
In any case, I’m glad to have you, so let’s get to it-
Voice– otherwise known as the reason that Morgan Freeman is cast as a deity in every movie -then, never heard from again (#PenguinJesus? #FrecklesBePraised).
Anyway, in this thing -that we call, write- there are several phases that we must first transcend before we can expect any legitimate headway on our road to authorial glory. Don’t be dissuaded by that, though. The chances are that -if you’re reading this- you’ve already mastered most of the truly essential ones.
If you can read, write, and construct some semblance of a cohesive story – then wunderbar!– (hey, do I have any German friends in attendance -did I use that right? (and NO! I will not “Google it”. You kids today, with your hippy hoppy music)).
Sorry, I’m getting a little off track. As I was saying, with those bases covered, you are now faced with the ultimate task that EVERY (yes even Madam J.K. Rowling) has to face. That task -is finding your voice.
The good news is, that it’s extremely possible for the majority of us to hit this point. The bad news is – it takes A LOT of mothereffin’ writing. Before we dive into that, let me explain the concept of “your voice” to those who are battling with the idea (especially considering they may think that we mean reading out loud. Possibly to no one #SadKitty).
A writer’s voice is their gem. It’s what sets them apart from anyone else (good or bad) on the literary spectrum. It’s quite simply the result of countless hours of toil over your craft. You’ll find that after some much-needed failures- undoubtedly attempting to imitate your favorite authors- that your stories begin to seem awkward, contrived, and essentially pale imitations of the real thing -(don’t deny that gut feeling kids because it’s right).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to shame or discourage any of you. To be honest, we’ve all been there, and we’ve all grown from there -in his book On Writing, Stephen King even admits to going through this phase himself (so if anything, you’re on the right path, and in good company).
Sidenote: Realizing that you’re imitating someone, is the first step to finding your own unique delivery – so have at it.
The quest then becomes, “how exactly do you find your voice”. I will share with you now, the same advice given to me on my first day of college – “Experimentation, is the best education”. Simply put, try everything. Toy with language, humor, seriousness, details (or lack thereof), etc.. Explore the wide range of potential that this medium offers to you – do so fiercely and fearlessly (you never know what suits you best -until you try it on).
Just to keep this grounded, I want to warn you, that this is never an “Ah ha!” discovery moment. Once you’ve put your various skill sets in collusion with one another, the next step is to develop a way to communicate them so that we (the readers) receive it clearly (or at the very least how you intended us to receive it).
We do this all the time and every time. Remember, there is no real end game to becoming great. We have goals, we meet them, and then we set higher ones – until the heart beats no longer (or Androids take over, #WhateverComesFirst).
Now go forth my previously silenced lambs, and unveil the literary vocality that will one day drive your being, (wow, I think I motivated myself with that).