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How to Release and Embrace Your Writer's Personality

Your Writer's Personality

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No one lives on a piece of paper, in a computer file, or even in a book. When we read the works of beloved authors like Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Stephen King, or Ray Bradbury, however, we feel almost as if we know the authors, and can recognize their works. Take dramatists like Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams, for example. The writers are strong enough that we can hear their particular style and use of elements. Who could mistake the writing of William Shakespeare for that of anyone else? For this chapter, and for the sake of your sacred creative writing energy, let us talk about your personality as a writer: the writer's voice.

Writing is so closely linked to speech. When you write, it is often as if sharing vocally with a close friend or trusted advisor; it can even be close to prayer  and thus sacred. Speech frees the mind from the inner closet of confusion and even pain, and writing closes the door on the uncertainty of words, at least for a time. Communication is love: connecting or hooking up with your reader and yourself. To flow naturally with your words, to make the writing easy and fun, try to write as if you were speaking. Over time, the compositions become easier and easier, and you can always go back and edit for errors.


Because of the human speech apparatus, meaning the mouth, lungs, tongue, teeth, lips and larynx, every person you know has a unique vocal pattern. This is true even to the extent that governments and banks or secure institutions can mechanically or electronically identify a person's voice pattern as a means of identification, like a fingerprint. In a larger sense, it remains true that no two persons are identical. Many years of science and biological studies have proven beyond a doubt that each person is a distinctly different and unique model of humanity. Your deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), or genetic material, is totally yours. It is wonderfully one of a kind, and there is truly no one exactly like you in all the wide world, nor ever will be again.


It may not be entirely reasonable to say that your writing is a product of your biological uniqueness. Most people have more in common than they do that makes them different from one another. Philosopher Carl Jung recommended that the human family shares a oneness of mind he called the "collective unconscious," a sort of shared alikeness and similarity of experience that all human beings experience to one degree or another. So, in a Zen kind of way, we are all the same and all different, like snowflakes.


Any writer or artist wants to be different, to have his or her work stand out from the crowd, to be original and special in the sense of that work. In seeking your writer's voice, or even in seeking sales for your work, you want that "newness" that sets you apart, so you will be recognized, known, and perhaps beloved like Mark Twain or Shakespeare. Yet truly, your personality as a writer may be far more than mere originality because in both the case of Twain and The Bard, these men were writing in response to the times they lived in. Each era is unique, with a thousand totally one-of-a-kind features that people from other times probably would not even recognize. So the writer's voice of Stephen King will always be identified with the 20th century, as the writers of the Old Testament in the Bible are with their times. It really cannot be otherwise, though it is true the imagination can cross even those borders.


One approach that cannot be avoided is for the new writer to copy and imitate the works and styles of his or her favorite authors. The words of a strong writer who has been working professionally a long time may clang and bash about, or hold faster, or dig deeper and fly higher than the early writer's first attempts to create stories do. A lot of early writers are intimidated by great authors; but should those masters be imitated, or is that off-limits, a form of plagiarism?
Check out your favorite authors. Look closely at the stories, the plots, the characters, and themes, and the use of words and language. Without a doubt, you will learn something. Anything that is learned is also borrowed. Any serious writer who may have fame and money probably would be pleased that you as a beginner have found something you needed in his words and work. It is very flattering to inspire others.


Your writer's voice can develop and grow in a number of ways. Maybe you only write women's stories. Maybe you only write Westerns. Maybe you only write science fiction. Maybe you write only romantic comedy. Specialization is a great tool here and indispensable on your journey to success because there really is far too much for you to write about and far too many types of writing and themes for any one person to be excellent at them all. Grammar and language are close to universal, but you as an artist may not have that luxury. As you first start out to write, you might typically choose a genre you favor, or choose short stories over books and novels, or stage plays rather than films or television, or poetry instead of prose, and so on. Do not be shy: Emphasize your strengths, pick what you are comfortable with, and stick with it. Even a mediocre writer who is well-known in a certain genre can suddenly blossom forth with his own voice. Hallelujah! You have arrived, and the writer's voice that others might identify with is yours.


Be the artist in your writing and in the art of words. Have faith that there is something special you can offer because there certainly is; you just have to find it. Like Saint Peter on the beach, the sifting of your soul for the writer's voice that is uniquely your own can be thrilling, frustrating, blissful, amazing, and self-revelatory. Never doubt your gift, which in sharing with others, is given away to return to you again.

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