I was randomly flitting around the internet a few nights ago and came across a post on a blog that said a lot to me. I can’t even remember how I ended up on that site, but I saved a quote from it with the “Press This” shortcut for WordPress. In the meantime, I forgot to get back to it and actually turn it into a blog post.
Well, I saw it today and remembered, so here it is.
There is something that will make your stories unique—if you let it. Perhaps your upbringing or beliefs, the way you tackle stories, or some aspect of characterization or storytelling. As you keep learning, you will find it. But if you try to write like you think you should, or like “everyone else writes,” you could lose the things that make your stories unique. You might very well end up writing stories just like some other author. But they won’t be as good, and you’ll never reach that point that you’d really like the reach, the spot where someone says, “I would quite like to read a story by [your name.] That’s what I’m in the mood for.” (Think about how you feel when you want to read one of your favorite authors. No one else’s work will quite do, because they’re unique!) Having stories that are a bit different will make some people dislike them. But you’re not writing to keep your head down and hope that you’ll blend into the crowd.
Take the things that hurt you, and turn them into stories. Take your deepest pain and tears and the things you’ve learned the hard way in life, and put them into your stories. It’s the hardest and best thing you can do for your writing—to make it deeply personal. Nobody will actually recognize the parts that are about you, but you will always know—and that can make it terrifying to put your work out there. But it can also make your stories matter more and mean more.
via Love Stories About Men: some writer advice, Hollis Shiloh.
It’s good advice. I mean, really good advice.