Writing well is something to eternally aspire to because the truth is, no matter how well we write, there is always room for growth and improvement.
Well, almost always. Not for some literary greats, obviously, but then I consider myself an average person with an overwhelmingly powerful desire to be the best writer I can possibly be. Continually learning is one of the methods I use to advance my writing abilities and develop my own “voice.”Mordecai Richler said the following (noted from an article/interview with him): “As a society, we are irony deficient.” Richler carries on writing regardless of what he thinks the masses want. He said he may not be writing for people who know about Greek mythology, the Bible or who Dr. Johnson is but he writes about them anyway if he wants to. “Novelists only have a couple of tunes to play and they play variations on that tune throughout their careers.” Richler also said until he wrote “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” he hadn’t found his own voice.
This was comforting to know. As a writer, I found it reassuring that I did not have to know exactly what my voice was so much as simply keep on writing until I find it. Some days I think I have found it. Other days I feel I have no voice at all.
Thanks to Mordecai Richler’s words of wisdom, as well as many others including Carol Shields and Margaret Laurence, personal instruction or training from Ed Griffin, Andreas Schroeder and Bill Burns, I’ve been fortunate in my journey to continue “growing” my own unique writing voice.
I’m not saying I’ve found it yet. But I am definitely still working on it.
For all the professional training we may have, there is often no other remedy than to simply keep on writing. But what can one do on those days when pulling a decent sentence out of the mind feels akin to trying to extract your own wisdom teeth? Apart from a good long walk, I keep several prized books around me.
A few of the favorites in my personal library that help me kick-start myself on those days when I am hitting “the wall” are :Ralph Keyes – The Courage to Write Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down the Bones Christopher Vogler – The Writer’s Journey Brenda Ueland – If You Want to Write Peter Rubie – The Elements of Story Telling Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird Laurence Block – Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print Gabriele Lusser Rico – Writing the Natural Way Linda Seger – Creating Unforgettable Characters Jesse Lee Kercheval – Building Fiction
What do you read for inspiration? Even if it’s not about writing, what written works inspire you to carry on and keep on fighting the good fight of the creative life?