I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing lately. I’ve been struggling with starting a new novel, but not making a whole lot of progress as yet. Yes, I know it’s NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t been participating. The main problems I’ve been having with writing are finding the time and the mental space. I’ve been busy and preoccupied with work, family life, bills, car problems, you name it. It’s been a messy, complicated couple of months around my neck of the woods.
Regardless, I have started a new novel that I think captures a lot of ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while. When I say start, I haven’t actually written the first pages yet, but I’ve written a couple of snippets and mapped out a lot of things that need to happen. This is an important first step in creating a story.
I’ve touched on this idea of putting your personality into whatever you write and I think this is an important part of establishing your voice. Your writing voice, if you’re not familiar, is that unique way you have of instilling your character, experience, values, and beliefs into your writing. This doesn’t mean that you always write about your particular set of political, religious, or other beliefs, though. It means that your writing comes from someplace deep inside you that exhibits some of the qualities that make you unique. It’s your style.
With my own writing, I’ve been trying to find ways of revealing more of my inner self when I’m writing. That is, I want to make my writing more real, more personal. This may have the effect of creating something that’s rawer, edgier, more vital, but also more intense and disturbing at times than some may be comfortable with.
It’s a little scary to open yourself up like that, but ultimately, I think it’s more liberating than anything else. Sure, you run the risk of losing some readers if you drop a few too many f-bombs or describe in vivid detail a scene of depravity, but how are you going to attract any readers at all if your writing isn’t authentic and different?
Remember, there are thousands of books written every year, but very few of them ever get published. This also applies to other forms of writing, including blogging. Yes, anyone can start a blog and post a crapload of content, but who the hell is going to read it if it’s not compelling or marketed well? Incidentally, the marketing part is probably even more important when it comes to blogging, but maybe even in novel writing as well.
As I start hammering out the first pages of this new novel, I’m going to be letting down some barriers. I’m going to loosen the chains on the monster and allow something real to scream, cry, rage, laugh, crash, batter, and slither out on the page.