Carl Jung talked about “going into the dark to find the gold” and this is a good analogy for the creative process. It is often an intense, deeply personal, scary, but ultimately rewarding inner journey. Writing is about finding your own voice and having the courage to share something, about which you are deeply passionate, with the wider world.
Naturally you may find that some initial resistance kicks in. One of the most common things first time writers feel is that they have nothing new to say that hasn’t already been said. Well, the truth is that everything has been said…but it has yet to be said by you.
One of the most important things is to find your own voice.
As film director, M. Night Shyamalan, once said “Knowing your own voice is the most important thing. Knowing who you are, and then telling your story, about ‘guy gets girl’ or ‘alien invasion’ or whatever becomes your own.”
The fact is that no-one has had exactly the same experiences as you or responds to the world in the way that you do. When you recognise and acknowledge that you will have the courage to allow your authenticity to shine through. Authenticity engenders trust and even though there may be many different voices out there, people will gravitate to the ones who resonate with them the most.
When you find your own voice, you will have the courage to follow your passions.
Most successful authors are on a mission and want to share something with the world.
It is said that you know you want to write when you have this impulse that simply won’t let you alone – rather like someone tugging at your sleeve. Fears and insecurities notwithstanding, you just have to do it. Passion is a powerful force and will drive you forward.
Blend Out. I wish I’d thought of this advertising slogan – it really says it all! Just as no two fingerprints are alike, there never has been and never will be anyone quite like you on the planet. When you start out in life, the temptation can be to follow the herd, but as you get older and become more self-aware you begin to value your differences. And so will others.
Perhaps you are still having doubts and thinking “But who am I to write a book?” I would say “Who are you not to?” I firmly believe that books can make a difference in the world and you have a responsibility to share your inspiration and expertise.
The advantage of books is their portability and their ability to endure. You may never know just who your book may educate, inspire or comfort. In short when someone reads what you have written they may feel heartened that someone else feels as they do about something or is able to show them the way. It is about making the personal into the universal.
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours”.
Alan Bennett, The History Boys
It is also, important to just let go and allow things to flow. I once heard a story about a baseball player, who in the middle of an innings, realised that the game was in fact being played out through him.
We are all creative beings and our talents and passion want to be expressed. They may have lain dormant for a long time, but they will out in the end, so don’t be afraid of them, but let them come through.
And just remember, it’s not about what’s new (or not!), it’s about you!
This article is the first in a series of four, written to help you find your inner writer. They will be published throughout the month of September 2008. Click here to see more articles from Leda Sammarco
Photo credit: This photo was taken by Don Solo