Take Five: #5: Be yourself

Take Five
Five-minute reads about writing
to help you with NaNoWriMo
Nov. 1 - Nov. 30, 2011
Courtesy: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)

#5: Be yourself

Writer Maeve Binchy shared an important secret in a video clip included in an earlier post during the Take Five series. Today's five-minute tidbit includes some additional sound advice from this veteran novelist. In today's reading, Binchy shares another simple but important fact about writing which she's learned over the years - always be yourself:

I never knew what was meant by 'finding your voice.' Not for ages. But I think I know now. I believe it means finding a way to write that is comfortable for you. It's finding the method to tell your story that seems natural and unaffected. That way you're not going to get caught out all the time trying to keep up with some kind of style that you think may be appropriate.

We should think of [playwright George Bernard] Shaw's Pygmalion, in which the Cockney girl can pronounce 'the rain in Spain' perfectly, but comes totally unstuck in a moment of crisis. I know people in Ireland who have changed their accents considerably, and I have an unworthy wish to wake them in the middle of the night with the news that their house is on fire just to hear if they cry, 'Jaysus,' like the rest of us.

I think that finding a voice in writing has everything to do with integrity and little to do with stylistic imitation. If we admire someone a lot, then it's tempting to think that if we, too, wrote like that we would be terrific. Not necessarily so - we could end up just looking like poor copies...

My most fervent suggestion is, don't allow yourself to believe that if a topic worked for one person it will work for you. That way you are denying yourself the real pleasure of writing, which is telling your own story in your own way.

Excerpt above is a preview from The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club; information about that title shown below:

Find this book: Print | Kindle
More on this writer: Bio profile | Official site

The book Random Magic (Sasha Soren) doesn't deliver writing advice, as it's a novel, not a work of non-fiction - but it does most definitely support the theme of being true to yourself. If you're browsing Kindle titles, feel free to download a preview for this book, if you like:

Find Random Magic: Print | Kindle