Hello, World! I am back again for the Love, Author series. Since all the craziness of the COVID19 in the world. I’ve been shut up in my house, running bunch of marathons. Yesterday, we watched Aladdin and Eternal Zero. For those of you who do not know, Eternal Zero is about a special attack unit division in the Japanese Navy during WW2. In other words, it’s about the kamikaze–suicide bombers. But the main character is determined to live. So, I recommend it full-heartedly to everyone reading this.
A. On Writing Voice
Anyhow, today, I want to talk about your prose, or how you write. Until I got serious about writing two years ago, I just wrote. I knew that I liked certain author’s writing voices better than others, but I didn’t know anything about prose or writing voice.
Then it dawned on me.
Authors like Donna Tartt would write decidedly differently from authors like Rick Riordan. That’s because they have a different writing voice. It’s what gives each book a unique colour, and why Agatha Christie mysteries would sound different from Dorothy Sayers.
And that, my readers, are writing voice.
B. On Grammar
Of course, there are rules. You can’t just. Do this, because you think it creates great prose. You have to follow the basic grammar rules.
I say basic since there are tons of grammatical rules out there (the Oxford comma, controversial, like as a conjunction, etc.) and I only know so much. Especially when you’re writing and you’re in the stream, you really don’t want to be stopping every single sentence to make sure you haven’t made grammatical mistakes.
Which is why Grammarly exists.
Just kidding. I mean, even if your story is great, there is a bottom line with grammar. You must sound like a coherent person, or it’s hard to get anywhere.
C. On Writing Well
So taking the two points I’ve outlined above, we’ll have some kind of idea about writing well. Obviously, something well written would have a great author’s voice, and also acceptable grammar. (Actually, not acceptable. Good grammar, more like.) If you read something written by C. S. Lewis, you’d probably know it, even if it didn’t say the author was Lewis.
When writing, you would want to try incorporating your voice. I’ve been trying to develop my writing voice, these past years…Hopefully, you can tell when I’m writing?
D. On Being Okay with not Writing Well
But we often fall into the trap of being too focused on writing well. We might read something other people have written, be it blogs or short stories or poetry.
Then you realize, “Oh, I’m not that good.”
Or you go back after an intense writing sprint and read back what you’ve written.
And it sounds absolutely terrible.
Let me tell you one thing: It’s okay. It’s okay even if your writing sounds terrible, and if there are a million grammatical mistakes in there. It’s okay. One day, you might be that author who writes polished prose in the first draft. Or you might still write terribly, but you’ll go back and ruthlessly rewrite.
It’s okay because the number one thing an author has to do is write. Without writing, there is no prose to revise. Without writing, there’s no chance of your writing gets better.
So the next time you read something you’ve written, and feel like burning it, take a little break, and remind yourself, “It’s okay.” And trust me, we would all write better–you just have to keep writing.
Are you writing (even if it might not be your best)? What do you like to tell yourself to stay motivated on writing? Let me know in the comments below!