Saturday, February 4, 2012

Finding Your Writer Vision

 
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.


14 comments:

  1. This is so true. Lately I've been feeling a little lost, and maybe it's because I've been forgetting my vision. Great post.

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    1. I hope this helps a bit! I think, as writers, we're constantly in a state of revision - of ourselves as well as our work. #GoodLuck!

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  2. EXCELLENT POST, SUE! If you ever teach a writing workshop, I'm going to sign up. Just let me know a year or so in advance so I can put it in the professional development budget.

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    1. Aw, thanks!! And thank you for inspiring me!

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  3. Very good point, Sue! When I think about the books I prefer, although they're often based on common themes (my favorite genres and locations and situations), it's the unique voice that sets them apart. We literally get bombarded with millions of writing tips, and it's easy to lose ourselves, our confidence, and our uniqueness by trying to measure up to a style that isn't us. (It's very much the same with art.)

    We absolutely should continue to improve, seek excellence and consider advice, but like you said, we should make sure to stay true to ourselves and the stories our unique point of view creates. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Jonene! And I love the comparison to art - I think sometimes it's easier for us to believe in the uniqueness of art than in the special quality we each bring to our writing. :)

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  4. Great points. And unless you start with that writer vision, than you won't know what editorial advice works and doesn't work. Of course, I received last minute brilliant beta feedback that I employed and rewrote a huge chunk of my Act II. So it's also knowing when your vision might be off too.

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    1. I would say your vision wasn't off, but maybe the execution of it was. :) I'm also open to anything that makes the story better, but that's a subjective thing - as you say knowing what work and doesn't work. I guess it comes down to a certain confidence in your work, while still being open to changing your mind about specifics. Not an easy thing, and one where you can easily get lost.

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  5. Excellent post. Learning to believe in your own vision is a hard thing when so many other voices pepper you during the writing process, but it is vital. BUT, it feels great when you do find your vision and cling to it. Thanks for posting this. :)

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  6. I think knowing your vision can help you to either reject or receive feedback because if you know what you want your work to be, then you can easily tell if you need to change it or keep course.

    Great advice. :)

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  7. I love this post. Thanks for sharing it with me! This part in particular: "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."

    And I guess I'd add, "And when that agent parts ways as a result, have the courage to keep going and keep believing in your work." --that's the part I'm working on~ :o) <3

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  8. I know you can do it, LT! I believe in you and your awesome work!

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