Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looking for a Sincere Voice

From reading advice from Brenda Ueland and some other writers online, it seems that writing "what you know" seems to be one of the easiest and possibly more popular ways to get started with creative writing.  There's no one like you to speak with truth and honesty about your experiences... you will naturally be original.  The secret per Ueland is to find a way to truly tap into your own honest inner voice.  I still have the initial question on how to get started -- do I write a short story, do I write about memories of past events, maybe a poem, etc.?  Right now I'm thinking I will need to get started with some memoir type activities, although an end goal would eventually be to try my hand at some fiction.

I also found a very helpful article on writing fiction which was encouraging:  "The Secret to Writing Powerful Words".  One of my goals in writing is to share some of the ideals and messages that I feel are important, and to find a potentially engaging and meaningful way for these to have an impact. Short stories might be the way eventually.  We'll see.

Still, in getting started, Ueland's advice struck me here about writing from experience and how you can tap into the roots of one's soul for what might be called your true writing voice:

"Another woman's writing changed suddenly when I told her to try being microscopically truthful. She was perhaps sixty years old and lame, a very fine, kind, gentle person. She worked very hard, but never seemed to write anything really good and alive. Finally I said: "Describe something just as it is. Do not worry if it is angular and clumsy or how it come s out. Just look at something and put down what you see. Remember William Blake who said: 'Improvement makes straight, straight roads, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.'" 4

[4 The truth, life itself, is always startling, strange, unexpected. But when the truth is told about it everybody knows at once that it is life itself and not made up. But in ordinary fiction, movies, etc., everything is smoothed out to seem plausible--villains made bad, heroes splendid, heroines glamorous, and so on, so that no one believes a word of it.]

Well, this pupil did as I said. She described a sad, dilapidated, old house. It was startlingly unlike her other writing--graphic and vivid and melancholy. She even noticed colors. She never mentioned a color in her other work. When I told her how good it was she said: "But it is so gloomy! I don't like to write depressingly."

I could see then that a lifetime of a kind of willed cheerfulness, because of her lameness perhaps, kept her from writing from her true self. "I must be cheerful and optimistic. I must look always at the bright side of everything," she was always saying to herself. But not when you write! If it is true cheerfulness, fine. But if it is willed cheerfulness and you always describe things as you think you ought to--well, it will not be effective, that is all. Nobody will be interested or believe you."
          Ueland, Brenda (2010-01-15). If You Want to Write.

I like the way Ueland pushes everyone to write from their genuine and sincere heart -- from who they truly are as a person... from where they live.  It's the sincerity that really seems to count here.  There is real meaning -- and truth -- that can be found in that.  Speaking from who you are, about what you truly think and feel -- that is where the impact and power will be. Would you agree?

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