So You Want to be a Writer?
If you want to write better, find your voice, your writing style…
You don’t need to take a class.
Sure, taking a class has benefits, but you will find it taking up your time and money.
There’s a better way.
You can also get a degree. Spend a year or two or three working to write a dissertation, researching, discussing writing, and all of that stuff.
Yet, there is also a better way.
Read the author’s that you like to read.
Reading their work, and reading a lot of it, will begin to bleed into your own subconscious. You’ll start describing ideas, scenes, feelings in the same style and manner as the author. Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you’ll sound exactly like them. You may seem similar, but if you’re trying to find your own voice, their writing style is an excellent place to start.
And if you do decide to copy their writing style, you’ll come off disingenuous and lack conviction. I find this happens with clients who want to “sound like (author’s name).” As a ghostwriting service, I would be doing a disservice to these clients by working to make them sound exactly like another author.
The same can be said for you as an author. Even if you’re not utilizing a ghostwriting company or ghostwriter services, you will still need to find your own voice. By copying someone else’s word choice, syntax, cadence, style, and tone, you’ll end up lacking conviction.
You won’t be a bad writer; you’ll just be unoriginal.
In many ways, that’s worse.
But do read their stuff.
You can still take a class and get a degree, but the books are lessons, experience, and diplomas all on their own. You’re investing your time to study them. Even reading is research. While you may not be consciously in “research” mode, your mind is cataloging the words. It’ll hold onto them for when you sit down in front of your laptop and start putting words onto the screen.
When it’s an author you like and enjoy, you’re more likely to remember it.
Hence, why I stick with Stephen King, Ruth Ware, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Gillian Flynn, Dennis Lehane, JK Rowling, Jim Butcher, JRR Tolkein, and others when it comes to fiction. On the non-fiction side; there are the Heath Brothers, Malcolm Gladwell, and Michael Lewis. Great authors, all of them.
Since I enjoy their work and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a book with their name on the cover, I’m more likely to absorb what they write, how they write it, and what it means to me.
I’ll push myself from time to time with a new author, or someone who’s been suggested to me.
There are lines, however.
While they are great authors, I just can’t bear the thought of reading Leo Tolstoy or Fyodor Dostoevsky. Not because they’re Russian. It’s because I’ve seen one of their books and it’s a door stopper.
I’ve read large books before and not batted an eye; Lord of the Rings and The Stand for example.
But the uber-dense nature of those other books, not to mention it’s on subjects I’m not particularly interested in, creates this feeling of exhaustion within me. And maybe it’s because my dad and my wife have prodded me to read them?
Not that I don’t take their suggestions when it comes to reading. It’s a fact, as I’ve said before, the size of the books are considerable, and the subject matter within doesn’t grab me.
Does this mean I’ll be a lousy writer?
If I stop reading, yes, yes, I will be a bad writer.
If I don’t read books that could stop a door, then I just won’t be one of those writers.
I’ll survive somehow.
But when it comes to you and your writing journey, pick your authors how you want to. If you find you like Tolstoy, then bless you both in your literary happiness.
If you find that you don’t have a favorite author, then go to your library, bookstore, or Amazon, and start picking out books that appeal to you.
Read them all.
If you don’t like them, donate them (if you bought them) to the local Goodwill, or send them back to the library.
And then go look for more books!
What better excuse do you need to read?
…Okay, reading for the joy of it would be a better reason. But still, reading to find your writing voice would be high up there.
Therefore, you must get out there and start reading. Or pick up that book that you stopped halfway and didn’t complete yet.
And don’t forget to write while you’re at it.
For more tips and suggestions, visit https://www.weckerlywriter.com/podcasts.html
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