When I first began writing, my goal was mainly to share anecdotes about my day with the kids, or to keep record of something smart and pithy that one of them said. The act of writing served to lift me up, but it also made some of what I was doing more concrete. As time went on, I realized that I had so many things to say, mainly through fiction, and that in order to stay sane, I needed to get words on the page—it was the only way to make my characters be quiet at times.
But in and among those fiction pieces, every once in a while, I’d have something to say in the form of personal essay or nonfiction piece. And those pieces served just as much as my fiction pieces did: they were a means to get my voice out there.
What I quickly realized, though, is that I had a tiny little part of that voice that I didn’t let out, except in the confines of my living room. There, I’d purge my thoughts and say what I truly meant—how much those rejections hurt and who was on my “bad” list—and one day, I realized that I was doing no good by uttering my complaints to the air. Instead, I needed to put the words on paper.
So, I did. I collected all my negative experiences and put them together into this little piece, that Brevity decided was worthy of publishing. (Full disclosure: it’s profane; don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
It felt good finally finding my voice and letting off a little steam. And while I cannot imagine sustaining such a raw, honest voice for a longer-length work—I’m really not this funny on a daily basis—this foray into a voice I don’t normally let out has made me reconsider a few characters in several of my novels. It’s made me realize that I need to dig deep with them, to find what really makes them angry, and to use that voice more in their scenes. Not that anger equals authenticity, but I do believe that I’ve neglected to really get to the heart of some of my characters.
And that, my friends, leads me to one of my goals for 2019: to get to the heart of my characters and revise accordingly. I always do better with goals, and finding true voices for each them seems to be doable, at least right now.
Another goal: to keep sharing my work and that of others and to become an even better literary citizen than I already am.
Happy Writing, Friends!
P.S. On a somewhat unrelated note, my piece made it into Erika Dreifus’ Friday Finds for Writers list. I’m grateful for the share there, and I also want to say that if you haven’t already signed up for her newsletter, please do. Dreifus does a wonderful job of curating fantastic information into a concise newsletter that only hits your inbox once a month!