Monday, March 31, 2008

Finding Your Voice

What's Jack up to? The wild boy is just being Jack and running around like crazy this morning. Jack you have to calm down. I've got lots of work to to today.

So it was a busy weekend with my DD's dance recital which was wonderful BTW. Thanks for all the kind comments and well wishes. She was beautiful and oh so sharp and professional. I was proud.

We decided to sleep in on Sunday since Saturday was such a late night, but come Sunday morning, bright and early, I was tossing and turning, my mind racing with anxiety. I was so tired and all I wanted to do was rest, but rest wouldn't come. Something was bothering me and it was my current work in progress.

Right now I'm trying hard to write something that will be a kind of break out piece for me so I'm playing with lots of different ideas. And for the most recent one, I just keep getting stuck. Stuck, stuck, STUCK. I keep seeing things unfold so clearly in my head, but not being able to put words to the images.

So with rest not happening, I got up left my DH and went to my other love, my lap top.

Bleary eyed (and out of coffee, yikes) I opened my document, yet again, and started to re-read the same old lines. I was in the scenes, but they just didn't have that oomph that they had in my head. I was detached.

Then suddenly after days and days of struggling I knew exactly what the problem was. I wasn't writing from my natural point of view. Although I knew the characters and saw them clearly, I didn't know the narrator of the story. It didn't have my VOICE.

I was like some of the poor kids on American Idol when they pick the wrong songs. They know the lyrics, but the voice doesn't match. Only when they can make it their own does it really work and they get the votes they need to make it to the next week.

So, I renamed the document and started rewriting, changing the POV entirely. And once I did that a lot of my fears and anxiety started to melt away. A little. I'm a writer. Fear never really goes away.
I was smiling and feeling good. Suddenly I was there with my characters, confident that what I was saying was exactly what they would want me to be saying. That odd knot I had was starting to unravel and I could sing again!

For all you writers, artists or for whatever your field is, how do you or did you find your voice or are you still struggling to find that illusive thing called "VOICE"?



Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

woman stop being hard on yourself, the words come out clear to me, and u should add one of my books to your book shelf

Melissa Walker said...

Great pop culture parallels! I have the same issue--I'm nervous that I only have one voice! Three books about the same character, and now trying to start something new seems... hard.

Brown Girl Gumbo said...

I've tried writing a novel several times, but it's soooo hard and I keep getting my POV confused. I guess I can't really add anything to your post, but to just keep at it and don't let fear get in your way!!!! :-)

I guess I should take my own advice!

Maureen McGowan said...

Great post, Kwana.

Voice is such a tricky thing. I've been told I have a strong one, but I'm not always convinced myself.

And it's so different if you're writing in 3rd person with multiple POV's (which I'm doing with my current WIP) because then each character needs his/her own voice, too.

The interesting thing for me is how many people give new writers the advice of "don't edit too much, or you'll take out your voice."

Me? I think my voice emerged when I started paying way more attention to revisions/edits. Working every page, every sentence until I felt sure they were the best they could be.

Mary-Laure said...

Hola from Uruguay!

Jack Jack Jack, I see you are just like Benjy. The pooch won't let his mistress work!

Kwana said...

Thanks for the advice Torrance. I'll try.

Hi Melissa. I feel the same way. I think may have one voice. I can't seem to escape it. It feels really hard to write out of the box.

Yes, BG you should follow that advice. And just keep writing. It is really hard. I won't lie about that. I'm on my 5th book now and still mess up POV. Keep writing. You're so talented. You can do it!

Oh Maureen 3rd with multiple POV's is the toughest. I commend you for that. It's interesting that revisions is what makes you feel more confident in your voice. I hate revisions, but I agree that each time I do them I get madder and madder, but better and better.

Thanks keep the comments coming.

Hi Mary-laure all the way from Uruguay!!! Thanks for think of Me and Jack:)

Curiosity Killer said...

It's funny you mentioned American Idol - I watched the most recent episode, and notice how difficult it was for some of the contestants to shine in their own styles. It's true, there's a space between loving a song in your head, and making it your own... it's the same as writing.

When I was in high school, I enjoyed being creative and writing almost schizophrenically. But now that I'm blogging (and working and everything adult-like), I don't have the leisure of experimenting, instead, I focused on more documenting and story-telling instead of voicing. So the idea of writing fiction (with numerous characters) is surprisingly harder now than ever.

In terms of personal style as your voice - I think it should come naturally... I think.

pve design said...

I can hear Simon now, he is always so "boody" honest which is a good thing. Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to finding your own voice.
Turn that fear into fun and let the butterflies take flight! I have faith that you can find your own voice.
Never give up!

Eileen said...

Have a glass of wine, relax and your voice will come....

Kwana said...

Thanks for sharing Curiosity Killer. Good observations.

Thanks Patricia and Eileen. Yes, I'll let go or fear and go with the flow.

My Notting Hill said...

Glad you reconnected with your voice - it's a great one!

Kwana said...

Thanks Notting Hill!

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