Today’s guest post comes from one of my new friends over at the Linked In Writer’s Cafe, Thorunn Bjornsdottir Bacon. Check out her blog at Raven Creative Writing where she shares samples of her writing, advice for writers, and information about her creative writing courses.
Writing the right way
by Thorunn Bjornsdottir Bacon
The most important thing for any writer is to write in his or her own voice. Finding our voice takes courage, patience and practice, but finding it and developing it means that we will write how is ‘right’ for us.
Writing is an art form just like painting or sculpting. To be able to create works of art we have to have certain technical understanding of our medium, and writing is no different. Some people have an inherent understanding of their medium, and need little or no training or guidance, but most of us do. This is where creative writing classes come in, as they introduce us to different techniques and ways of writing. We live in a commercial world, and some of us choose to keep half an eye on the potential reader, but at the end of the day, the writing has to please us; we are the creators and the satisfaction should be ours. For me, writing is about satisfaction. It’s about striving to achieve that warm fuzzy feeling in the belly, the feeling I get when all the words are in the right place. Right for me. Not what others think is right.
Don’t ever loose sight of the fact that you are not anyone else, and neither should you try to be. A lot of us spend a lot of time and energy trying to write like someone else or write how someone has told us to write. We buy endless ‘how to write books’; go on course after course trying to find that elusive ‘right’ way to write, or how to write in that particular genre that’s ‘in’ at the moment. Don’t be too led by what you think the market wants. Don’t try to copy current best-sellers, because by the time you get your book out some other idea will have replaced that one.
By all means, go on courses, join writing and reading groups, hone your writing but don’t ever loose yourself. Resist if you are told by a tutor that you have to write in a certain way or in a certain genre to get published. A great creative writing tutor should encourage his students to broaden their ideas about writing by reading widely; inspire and encourage their hunger for words and images, but most of all support them in finding their own voice; finding what is the right way to write for them.
One of the things I tell my students is never to forget that your imagination is different from that of anyone else; delve into that imagination and you will be amazed at the words that you will find there. Trust yourself; trust that you have the right words within. Loose the fear of finding yourself underneath the layers and layers of what other people expect or wanted you to be. And when you find your voice it may not be prefect but it’s a perfect you, and being you is just perfect!
My name is Thorunn Bjornsdottir Bacon. I’m Icelandic but have lived in England most of my adult life. I initially came here to study but fell in love with a boy and never left! I have always been passionate about writing and literature, and a few years ago I completed a Masters degree (MA) in Creative Writing and Literature. I set up Raven Creative Writing where I teach various writing courses and workshops, ranging from ‘The Short story’ to ‘Writing for self-discovery.’ I enjoy supporting my students and helping them to find their own voice.
I have published short stories and memoire pieces in magazines and web publications and I’m currently working on a novel set in Victorian London.
Come visit me over at Raven Creative Writing.
Good post. My motto: No rules. Just write!
Thanks, Jodi & Thorunn
Voice takes time and a lot of writing. Thanks for sharing your insightful tips.
Great advice and a solid reminder that our uniqueness is something we can always leverage to improve our writing.
I believe a writer’s voice emerges when she stops looking for it.
Valuable comment there on not trying to be someone else when you write. So many writing books I’ve come across seem intent on telling you what not to do. You can’t write with braincuffs on.