Walk To A Different Beat
Every writer has to find their own creative path for publication and for their body of writing. This world is a combination of science (where you can learn how-to information) and art. Last night I was watching two different interviews with country artists—each of them took years to find their own creative voice and fan base. Everyone wants it to happen instantly but it rarely happens in that manner. Also I noticed each of these artists walked to their own beat in their music and song writing. It’s the same in any of the creative arts from my view—acting, painting, sculpting, writing, music, etc.
Over the last few days, I’ve been pulling a few lessons for writers from Naomi Wolf’s book, The Treehouse. She writes, “My father truly believes that creative vision can emerge only when you are willing to challenge and, if you have to—no matter how scary this may be—to reject every outside expectation about how you should behave. ‘before you can even think about finding your true voice, you have to reject boxes,’ my father said, deciphering his crabbed writing as the wind rustled outside the window of the dining room. ‘Smash them apart.’ In other words, he explained, look at what box you may be in and be willing to destroy it. Cliches are, among other things, boxes. Whenever you are saying or doing something that is too familiar to you, that does not let you surprise yourself, you should rethink your situation.” (p. 72–73)
Now before you go off on the deep end finding your own voice, understand there is a balance. You have to find your creative topics to write about and your own style of writing—yet you have to fit into the conventions of the writing business. These conventions can be learned but every writer needs to make the effort to learn these skills. I’m talking about understanding the marketplace and sending each publication or publisher appropriate submissions. It also means learning how to write a one-page query letter and get a magazine assignment from an editor. Or it means learning the various elements of a book proposal, then including each of those elements in your submission. As an editor, when I get a targeted proposal, it makes me take a second look. Then when I take the second look, the writing and creative aspects have to hold my attention. Creativity definitely has to fill each piece of writing. May each of us learn to discover our own path.