The world is full of noise
I worry when I write that ‘it has all been done before’. I mean, with all the googling and yahoo-ing we do now, all the books, and e-books that are published, all the films watched, even the birthday card messages that are printed, is there anywhere really left to go?
It makes writing seem a little futile and despondency can settle in. But years ago, I read something that realigned my thinking; ok, the idea of boy meets girl falls in love the end might not be original nor are the apocalyptical stories of machines taking over the world (I seem to watching a wealth of films about this at the moment!).
But the writer’s voice is.
Each time you write/type a word on the page, you are making your own personal mark on the world. Even when you are emulating a style or genre you favour, the words, the arrangements of sentences, the perceptions that you have are yours and yours alone.
This voice comes from your subconscious – in the same way that we talk differently, have different accents, dialects, have different opinions from others, so our writing voice is different from others. We may not know why, how, where it comes from (the beauty of the subconscious; it would be so easy if it were conscious!) but it is there.
Unlocking the subconscious
A well known style of writing called the stream of consciousness has been used most famously by many authors such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce from the early 1900s but it is still a device being used today.
This is a device that I particularly love – the flow of it becomes so natural for me; it feels unconstrained. But it doesn’t just have to be confined to narrative – it can be a useful exercise for finding your voice and ‘stretching the envelope’ of your own writing.
I would encourage everyone to try it, whether as a personal journey, part of a back story or as an emerging story.
As a writing exercise, the rules are simple:
- let the writing take you on a journey, don’t try to control it
- do not edit
- do not worry about spelling/punctuation/grammar
- do not worry about any writing conventions at all
- let you pen/keyboard do the work
You might want to limit your time or not, you choose. I think you will be amazed at what comes back at you – and even if it isn’t a novel that emerges, there may be just one word, sentence, perception that inspires the author in you.
Good luck and enjoy finding your voice!