This is advice that I take to heart. I read voraciously, and I try to read without bias. As writers, we absorb everything that we read. It’s through reading and just writing (a lot) that we hone our skills. We study the art that we love this way. However, I sometimes find that people take this a little too far. It doesn’t just happen with authors that we love. We see people’s style in life, people that we’re around… and we’re impressed. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say.
Well, I say that originality is the key to your writing success.
I am in no way implying that you’re going to be able to come up with an all new, completely original idea. I know what you’re thinking. It’s like this…
But, I had this great idea about people who were living underground and then they–
No, that’s been done.
Okay, so maybe I write about mermaids who–
It’s been done.
Fine! I have a completely original idea about a hobbit who–
I’m not saying that you should be discouraged and never write. I’m saying that this is where originality comes in. You are going to write about something that’s been done before. I’m writing about a half-demon stopping the apocalypse and mermaids this year. It’s been done. Multiple times… but what I can bring to the table is something solely and completely unique to me. I can bring my voice. No other writer in this world can tell the story the way that I can, the way that my characters will, the way that my voice can. This is where you shine – this is where you become an author who will stand out. Now, the problem arises when we read and find ourselves coveting the way that an author writes. We love their tone. We love their voice… and so, we try to emulate it.
We can’t do this as writers. We have to take a breath and realize that our voice is our own, and nothing is better than us using our tone. We will pick up little nuances from our favorite authors, and that’s okay. However, if you do your damn hardest to sound just like Stephen King… the only thing that you’re going to do is make sure that no one ever gets to hear you for what you are, for your originality… and that is a damn shame. You’re the only you this world has… so do everyone a favor and let your own writing flare shine!
That’s all that I have for right now, and I hope that you guys were able to take it to heart! Until next time, keep reading and writing!