These last few weeks, I've learned a little about myself. Mainly through my wonderful critique partners but also through writing flash fiction pieces, I feel like, maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to get to know myself as a writer. I'm noticing my "ticks." For example, I really love to repeat the same lovely adjective over and over again. Oh, lovely redundancy. You are a tough, and lovely, one to shake. Lovely.
But I'm also learning to trust my gut. We've all got instincts. But I don't always trust myself. I second guess, a lot. It's okay to become inspired, but I don't want to imitate too much. I struggle with this. Just because I loved Going Bovine, doesn't mean I should sit down and say, "Oh. I can do that." Because I can't. In the words of Jerry Maguire: "What does your heart tell you?" Trust yourself. It'll be better in the end.
When I saw John Green and David Levithan speak/read/sign a few weeks ago, David made some great points about voice. He said he tried writing like Raymond Carver, but it wasn't him. It's okay to try on different skins, so to speak, but, in the end, you've got to find your own voice.
The point is, if there really is a point here, is that if you like something in your writing, someone else will like it too. But I need to stop cutting corners and settling for: "Well. That's good enough. The sentence has a subject and verb and that's all you really need. And my MC is okay. Her love interest is okay. Basically, it's okay, these words form sentences and all, and I'm tired of working on this, this is my third draft, so I'm going to go ahead and query to see what I get."
Not a good idea. Because once it's out there, it's out there. And you don't get second chances on one project. At least I haven't! I want to get so excited to send my story out that I can barely hold still, but at the same time, this is all subjective. It's so weird, how someone can love something, and another hates it. But this isn't just true in writing. It's true about EVERYTHING. So I might as well get used to it!
Here's my point, really:
Don't be an echo of someone else's story or writing. Be the shout.
Don't become a ripple. Be the stone.
Easier said than done, right?