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.
May 19, 2011
Labels: Encouragement for Writers