Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Questions from Readers

Writing about Voice (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third blog to answer Barbara Higby’s question about voice. Barbara said that after she “reread the manuscript, I thought, Who wrote this? It wasn’t me.”

Here’s another way of answering the question, and I assume it’s not what Barbara meant.

Sometimes we write and it doesn’t seem unusual to us. In fact, we may slog along, wondering if we can ever get something good on paper. Later, we read it over and a sentence or a paragraph jumps out at us and we say, “This is good. Did I really write this?”

This doesn’t happen to me often, but I’m delighted when it does. The labor we put into the creation seems to have no direct relationship to the quality of the writing. Now and then we get “in the flow” and don’t realize it’s unusual. We write. Only later can we see those passages that amaze us.

This is different from being satisfied with what we wrote—and too many writers are satisfied with what they put on the screen because they don’t know how bad they are.

This self-amazement comes after we know the difference between good writing and amateurism.

Keep writing. And keep surprising yourself.

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