If you go online and read writing advice websites, you’ll find a lot of so-called ‘rules’ that they’ll try and convince you to follow. You know the stuff: you must write every day, you must follow this plan, don’t use these tropes etc. and a lot of the time, they can be so intimidating they put people off before they’ve even gotten a word down.
But fear not, because today I’m going to tell you the surprising reason absolutely anyone can write.
Do you hear voices?
Do you ever hear a voice in your head, or speak to yourself when you’re alone? If you do, all you need to do to write is channel that voice!
We often hear a lot of talk about an author’s voice and so much of it is confusing or contradictory and how do you even work on that when there’s so much other stuff to figure out? I think the key to not being intimidated by it all is to write as honestly as you can in your voice and just get some words down on paper.
Don’t forget, your voice is the one you use when talking to yourself or making remarks in your head because someone’s left the toilet seat up again! It’s kind of the true, unfiltered you.
When one of my friends read an early draft of one of my books, the first thing she said was that it sounded like me. She could totally hear me throughout the narrative. This simple compliment made in passing absolutely blew me away, but I didn’t realise its true significance until I started submitting my novel to publishers. Although I was receiving rejections, many were kind enough to mention my strong authorial voice and I came to realise that the way I write is the way I talk to myself all the time!
That’s not to say I always talk to myself in short, dramatic sentences or describe things in poetic language. That would be weird. Also, I write in third person, so if I started referring to myself as she and narrating my actions, my husband might have me committed. But the majority of the time what I write does sound like me.
That’s why starting with the little voice in your head is the best way to begin your writing journey.
Do I have to write a novel though?
No, you really don’t because at this stage, any and all writing counts!
They often say journaling helps too and that, after all, is just you writing your thoughts down! But any and all means of writing will help you develop your voice. Funny emails to friends and work colleagues? Book reviews? Blog posts? Yep, all of these are valuable resources to help you develop your voice and then you just need to have a go at that novel when you’ve got an idea with legs.
But what about the rules?
As you write different things, you’ll refine your own process and figure out how you like to work, what you like to write and you’ll learn some of the technical rules along the way too. You can then choose which ‘rules’ you want to break as you grow in confidence.
The takeaway is that whilst techniques and rules can be learned, the hardest thing is nailing that difficult to define authorial voice, but if you pay more attention to the voice you have, you’ll get the hardest part done first and everything else comes with practice.
That’s why everyone and anyone can write!
Do you have any tips for finding your authorial voice? Or have you used the advice above and finally begun to write? I’d love to know in the comments!
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Ever since she left home Amelia’s been enjoying her new life in Paris and has lost contact with everyone in the small English village of Meadowbank. But with the surprise inheritance of her childhood home, Meadow Farmhouse, Amelia has no choice but to return home to discover the secrets of her great-aunt’s past and face her feelings for first love Adam again.
Can Amelia finally confront the past and find where her heart truly calls home?