May 19, 2011

Uniquely You

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When I was in nursing school I had a friend named Traci whose handwriting had such a creative flair. I determined that I would learn to write just like her. For several weeks I painstakingly labored trying to imitate what Traci did with ease. Then I gave up. It was too much work!

A few years later I realized why it was okay for Traci to have such artistic handwriting while I was stuck with Plain Jane. She married right out of nursing school and immediately started amassing a house full of kids and pets. I, on the other hand, spent thirteen years as a nurse and most of my life as a writer. My Plain Jane handwriting has come in quite handy to process thoughts quickly, something I’ve had to do both as a nurse and a writer (and a homeschool teacher and a writing instructor).

My point is that it’s okay to admire other writers. It’s even okay to adopt some of their ways, providing they fit your particular bent. But a danger lurks in the mix. While imitating another you might lose yourself in the process. Your own unique writing style might never be set free.

See that fingerprint up there. Each of us has our own set, unlike anyone else. The same is true of writing. We each have a style. No one can say what you say quite like you.

For instance, my style is pretty straightforward, not terribly creative or witty. But it suits me because I primarily write to offer information, instruction and encouragement. I’m not in the entertainment business.

You, on the other hand, might drip with poetic phrases or make your readers bust a gut laughing.

God has designed you with a specific writing style, one that you naturally gravitate toward. He did that for a reason. You are designed to fulfill a particular writing need and He has gifted you accordingly.

The challenge is letting that style develop and freely flow from your hand. It requires shutting out all the other voices. It means appreciating another’s writing style without feeling a need to adopt it as your own. It means turning off the shoulda, coulda, wouldas and opening the door to your heart to let the secret words out.

What makes you unique as a writer? You will find your best writing success when you simply write like you.

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15 comments:

Southwest Cottage Designs said...

I like how you used the fingerprint - point made perfectly! God made us unique, and you've expressed that in a very encouraging way. Thank you.

Linda said...

I'm not sure what makes me unique,but I know what you've said is so true. I sometimes find myself writing like an author whose books I've just been immersed in for a few weeks. It never really works out very well.
Thank you so much for sharing these encouraging words Bonita. They mean a great deal to me!

Marilyn said...

Love your Plain Jane encouragement, Bonita! Thanks. You really live up to the title of your blog.

Donna said...

Still finding my style...I am
encouraged more and more to let my unique voice flow from my writing.

Thank you for encouragement!

Dawn said...

Thank you for this, Bonita. I often invest my energies in admiring others' writing style rather than improving my own. Thank you for reassurance that God has made me uniquely for his purpose.

~Brenda said...

My particular gift seems to be making people double over in laughter. Well, that ... or cry rivers of tears. Never anything in between!

I needed to hear this, and I think I need you. I'm glad I found you!

Anna Gergen said...

These words of yours are very helpful. It makes me feel special to know that God has designed me in a way that nobody else can imitate. It's nice to be reminded of that once and awhile. And while you might not label yourself as creative or witty, you certainly are authentic. Thanks again!

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

thank you for sharing your gifts and insight so freely, bonita! this is exactly what i needed to hear today.

traci said...

This is exactly what I needed to read! Thank you so much for this encouraging insight Bonita. I am traveling the path to finding my writing style and voice and have tarried along the way. This has given me hope to pick up my bag and carry on.

Blessings to you!
~traci
xoxo

Mel said...

Thank you! I needed to hear that today! It's so hard to not compare, to try to figure out how to be successful at being ourselves. Obviously folks enjoy my writing. I need to just write and let the letters fall where they may :)

Blessings,
Mel
Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

Funky Junk Interiors said...

Brilliantly written! :)

Donna

Rambling Heather said...

So beautiful and so true. I can find myself unbeknownst to me becoming like a chameleon, attempting to blend in and become like other writers. Still trying to find my own voice.

LadyG said...

Wow. Simple revelation can be so profound! I've been "threatening" to seriously blog for months. Seeing you say in black and white that our writing voice is unique on purpose gives me a certain [apparently needed!] permission to speak. You have offered an accurate diagnosis, I believe. Perhaps I can now proceed with a cure: Write! Thank you again for your excellent blog.

Heaven said...

I enjoy your posts very much~

A Speckled Trout said...

Great advice. I sometimes waffle between writing the serious or the funny as I don't want to confuse my readers. Truth is, life is both so I write what is on my mind and hope that I have an audience that is willing to go along for the ride.

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