How can I find my unique writing voice?



Dear Literary Ladies,
My desire to be a really good writer exceeds nearly all else. But like a lot of artists, I fear what I want most. It's like I'm tripping over my own feet. I'm self-conscioius and that "trying too hard" style shows up in my writing. How can I get out of my own way and find my unique voice?


The business of writing is a personal problem and must be worked out in an individual way. A great many people ambitious to write, fall by the wayside, but if they are the discourageable kind it is better that they drop out. No beginner knows what he has to go through with or he would never begin.

When I was in college and immediately after graduation, I did newspaper work. I found that newspaper writing did a great deal of good for me in working off the purple flurry of my early writing. Every young writer has to work off the “fine writing” stage. It was a painful period in which I overcame my florid, exaggerated, foamy-at-the-mouth, adjective-spree period. I knew even than it was a crime to write like I did, but I had to get the adjectives and the youthful fervor worked off.

I believe every young writer must write whole books of extravagant language to get it out. It is agony to be smothered in your own florescence, and to be forced to dump great carloads of your posies out in the road before you find that one posy that will fit in the right place. . .

— Willa Cather, from a 1915 interview in the Lincoln Daily Star

1 comments:

Anonymous November 28, 2009 at 7:52 AM  

I write poetry and find myself wanting to put it down with flourish! Sometimes the stanzas are so wordy,one stumbles through them to get to the rhyme or rhythm. The more simply things are said, the cleaner the work.

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