Sometimes a theme beats on my head.
It pounds its way in slowly - a blog post here or a tweet there. It shows up in the scribbled notations in my journal, tapping its way into my conscious thoughts. Then I get an email from a friend and I'm compelled to write a blog post about it.
Rebecca's post about Writer Anorexia - the need to have the perfect manuscript - kicked loose my need to write about how important it is to find your writer vision.
We are each unique, so we tell our stories in our own way. This is almost cliche, except that it is true. The deep truth in this statement is that our vision of the world can easily be squandered, wasted, thrown on rocky soil, if we do not nurture it.
By all means, study bestselling authors and practice, practice, practice your craft. But I promise you that the way those authors became bestsellers was by staying true to their vision of their work. Long before you become a bestseller, you - the aspiring author - need to respect and nurture your own uniqueness and vision of the world. It is your most treasured talent. It is the thing that makes you special, and in this business of creative work, uniqueness is the most valuable thing you possess. Trying to be J.K. Rowling will rob you of the very thing that made J.K. who she is - a visionary.
Discovering your own vision is not easy. It's hard work, in fact, buried in the word mines where you will break apart unwieldy paragraphs to find the shining nuggets within. It's years of writing and crafting of words that helps you hone your ability to let your uniqueness be revealed.
This sounds very grandiose, full of hot air and nonsense, but let me assure that understanding your story-vision is one of the most important things you can do.
When an agent says to you, I love your story, but could you just change these three characters and add a donkey? you need to have the strength of vision to say no. When an editor says to you, We love your writing style, but those (insert here) types of characters don't market well. Can you change it to (insert here)? you have to have the confidence in your story to say sorry, that doesn't work for me.
(Not to say that editors and agents won't offer brilliant suggestions. They will. But if you won't fight to keep the integrity of your story, then no one will. Only you can make sure that the heart of your story is not destroyed in the editing process.)
So, when I tell you to discover your vision, when I say your uniqueness is your treasured talent, I don't mean this is some fluffy thing you can afford not to do. I mean finding your writer vision is a vitally important part of your happiness as a writer, as well as your future success in the marketplace.
And this is what I want for all my writer friends.