Monday, August 22, 2011

Feel the Fear and Write It Anyway

First, I owe you guys a winner announcement for a copy of Jay Asher's THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. I wish I had a copy for everyone, because this is such a fabulous book, but sadly, I don't. So, by random drawing, the winner is:


*throws cyber-streamers*

So, check your email, Antje! I'll get your book to you as soon as you get me your address.

And now I want to open up to you guys a little bit. 

It took me a really long time to decide to write for publication. I always enjoyed writing, and I always enjoyed telling stories, and you all know how much I love books. But whenever I thought of someone else reading what I had written, my words sounded hokey and stupid to my own ears, and I got so self-conscious about it that I'd scratch it all out or erase it or throw it away. Even now, I don't always feel as if what I'm writing is "me" - I follow the rules, and I work on my craft, and I've definitely been improving, and these are all good things.

BUT: I've been using the "rules" as a way of hiding my own true style, not because there's anything wrong with my style necessarily, but because when I write the way that comes naturally to me, I feel pretentious and stupid and I worry that everyone will hate it. And that's not good at all.

I've just finished reading Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER trilogy. I re-read SHIVER and LINGER and read FOREVER all in one weekend. (Hubbles had to do a bit more of the housework than usual. It made him a little crazy. This is understandable.) And the biggest takeaway for me as a writer was that her writing is so lyrical and poetic and UN-self-conscious, and that is the way I want my writing to be. Not lyrical in the same way or poetic in the same way, but un-self-conscious and simply "me".

So, I'm working on incorporating that principle into my work. I'm practicing the act of writing without judgement, beyond the question of "Does this tell the story the way that it needs to be told?" It's scary, but I'm trying it anyway.

And come back Wednesday for my review of FOREVER, the third and final installment of the SHIVER trilogy, where I'll be giving away a brand new SIGNED copy! (Are you excited? Because I am SUPER excited.)

Are you self-conscious about your voice in your written work? What book or books have you read that seemed utterly UN-self-conscious?


  1. That's great your finding your author voice. I definitely do not have a lyrical one.

    I love Maggie Stiefvater! I met her at a book signing in July.

  2. First of all thank you so much for your randomly drawing ME! Whoohoo! I'm so excited!
    Secondly, I know exactly what you're talking about. I often have problems with my own voice sounding weird. Doesn't matter if I hear myself on tape or read out loud my manuscript to others. But actually when I wrote the first chapter of my current manuscript I incautiously copied the style of different author's I adored at that time. Last weekend I had to rewrite the first chapter because it didn't match my character's voice and all of a sudden it felt true. True me. True my character. So I guess we really grow as writers when we find our own awkward voices. So don't worry. You're in good company.

  3. I'm self-conscious about everything when I'm writing! But I'm also worried about losing my voice too. It's another writer-insecurity I guess, but it's one to work through. Definitely helps to find an author whose voice is so assured and THEM. :)