Tuesday, 24 August 2010



You write what you write. It is your theme, your subject. You write in your voice, and that is distinctly you.

Don't let anybody tell you that you need to write "like this" or "like that" to get a book published. Your voice is the completion of your experiences in your life.

I can speak from my own background, here. I wanted to have an agent, that was all I wanted. I wrote like "this author" and "that author" for so long, disregarding my own voice, racking up rejection after rejection.

I did myself a disservice.

Because when I wrote what I wanted to write (more on that in a minute) how I would want to read it, well, that's when I figured it all out.


Writing what you want to write.


This publishing game, it's hard, no question. Painful. So while you should of course know what's selling, you should BY NO MEANS write something merely because you think it'll sell. What if it doesn't? Then you've wasted months of your life on something you didn't really like.

But worse: what do you do if it does sell? What a tragedy! You're stuck writing stuff only like that until you're (hopefully) successful enough to step away and do something else. But you didn't really lust over your subject matter in the first place.

So...have you ever tried to write in another author's voice? How did that work for you?


aspiring_x said...

LOL! I wouldn't even know HOW to write in another author's voice! that must have taken some SKILLZ!

Janna Qualman said...

I needed this today. Thanks, Jen.

JKB said...

Aspiring, ha ha! I don't know, I'd call it mimicry, moreso!

Janna, HUG. I know it is possible. If I can, anybody can.


Matthew Rush said...

Great question Jen! I know my voice has been influenced by other author's (in the sense that every writer is influenced by what they read) but I have never tried on purpose to write in another author's voice. Not sure I could pull it off.

Summer Ross said...

LOL, I'm still finding my voice, I recreate sometimes just to see what it feels and looks like to me, but I'm still waddling through :)

Kelly Bryson said...

Great post Jen. It's really hard to see other people being successful and not get upset that it's hard to find our own success. I try to remember that we each have our own path and our own perspective to offer. But still I wonder at times who cares what I think? I'm just me!

Heidi Willis said...

I struggled with that too. I think to some extent writers have to go through the mimickry stage to reach the place where they find their own voice.

Patti said...

I totally agree and sometimes it take a few tries to figure out what you want to write and how you want to sound.