Author Life | writing

Author Life: Have I found my voice? Pt.1

There’s so much going on in my head right now. It’s as chaotic as a Hanoi intersection, with thoughts going every which way and recklessly crashing into each other.

It’s a case of wanting it all, yet knowing that’s not realistic.

Publishing is a marathon. A race where you have to build slowly over time. Where you have to gather steam, push through barriers and improve at every hurdle. The problem is, although the realist in me knows this, part of me – the impatient, petulant child part – wants it all and wants it all now!

If only I knew what ‘it all’ meant!

It’s not an uncommon story, particularly with indie-published authors.

We choose to be indie for the flexibility. That was a big component for me. I never wanted to be put in a box and labeled as an author of XYZ fiction. I wanted to stretch boundaries, write across different styles, and push the blending of genres to the extreme.

There are authors who do that, and do it well. But now, deep in the trenches, I’m not sure if it’s for me. Not that I want to pigeon-hole myself, but I’m realising that living on the edge it’s harder than I first thought.

It’s not uncommon for authors to start off in one genre and switch to another. Not because they have a change of heart or interest, but because what they thought they should be writing (for myriad reasons) isn’t what they are best at writing.

And I’m feeling that right now.

I’d love to write psychological thrillers. I love reading them, but there is no way I could write one. Even when I think I have a great idea, the thought of having to pull it together, build tension and suspense, add twists and turns, drop red herrings, and come up with the ultimate mind-blowing, twist for the climax leaves me feeling like a first-grader asked to read War and Peace out loud in front of the whole school.

I love contemporary women’s fiction where the character is on a life-changing journey. Emotion filled, relatable and heartfelt. But I’ve found when I write that way, I tend to lean towards a literary style. I have to work extremely hard on the pacing to turn it into commercial fiction that will keep today’s savvy, time-poor reader engaged.

My dream would be to write witty rom-coms in the style of Bridget Jones. But not only has that been done and is being done (and well) by so many authors, I just can’t seem to nail the ‘lol’ moments. At least not frequently enough to warrant the ‘com’ tag.

What I’ve come to discover over the course of writing and finishing a few manuscripts now, is that I sit somewhere in between.

What I’m trying to say is; I think I’ve finally found ‘my voice’.

‘Voice’ is something you hear a lot about.

Publishers are looking for writers with a ‘unique voice’. And authors are on a constant journey to find their voice. Often confused about where to look for it in the first place!

So, what is voice?

Put simply, a writers ‘voice’ is their personality, tone, and rhythm. It is how you write most naturally and isn’t something that you can copy or force.

I believe it takes years to find your voice (I’m the perfect example). Over my many years of blogging, my voice has developed into what it is today. It was a natural progression over time. And it’s the same with fiction.

Although my fiction voice is different from my blogging voice, it’s not dissimilar either. And that’s the thing that seems so obvious now!

I was trying to be something I’m not. All I needed to do was look right here, on my blog, to realise there is an effortlessness to the way I write here. And it is that same effortlessness that my creative writing was missing.

So what does that all mean for my writing going forward?

That’s the thing that’s causing me sleepless nights!

And you’ll have to tune in to tomorrow’s blog post to find out why!