Stephen King says, ‘If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. He is right. Nothing fires me up to write like reading a good book.
I reckon writers, seasoned or burgeoning, will do well to read others and to explore all kinds of writing styles and genres. There are authors whose works have inspired me and informed my appreciation of the art of writing over the years. Authors that include Bryce Courtenay with his African tales, Tess Gerritsen, the former surgeon who draws from her medical experience, Christian author Chris Fabry, Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, Alice Walker, Naomi Alderman, to name but a few.
But writers who want to grow and expand their horizon will understand that it is not enough to just read a good book. They should sit down and write, for it is only through the practice of writing that one gets to explore their thoughts and feelings, experiment with the various writing styles, and ultimately establish their own unique writing voice.
My writing has evolved over the years. Finding my writing voice has been and still is. The process can span for years as one seeks to perfect and establish their uniqueness in the writing world.
Even though I cite other authors in some of my writings and find their works intriguing, I relish being able to create original content of my own: a quote, a poem, a blog, an article or indeed a novel.
I like to depict my own version of life as I draw from my own experiences, choose my own words and expressions. Over the years, I have discovered that writing is not so much about the words or phrases I use, but rather the way I use those words to depict the world around me that give character and authenticity to my writing.
My kind of writing's exact nature should provoke, in my reader, specific thoughts and feelings. This way, the reader experiences what drives me and explore my heart and soul.
My experiences are my most significant resource from which I draw knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I am a product of my own interpretation of the world. How I embrace, receive and digest my experiences determines the ‘product’ which is my message to the world. The end-product, which becomes palpable and tangible in all my writings
My voice is the rhythm, the tone and the vibe the reader gets when they absorb and digest my works. It is that uniqueness in quality that separates me from other writers. It is writing in a way that does not seek to deceive or betray my personality or what I represent. When, in an instant, a reader recognises that vibe and uniqueness the second, they open my book to read.
As a reader, I tend to gravitate towards certain books. My mood and needs at the time often determine which book I choose. I also want a voice to appeal to my senses and to speak to my soul. Therefore, developing and establishing a reliable voice as a writer is your gift to the reader. It is your unique voice that gives the reader the motivation to pick your book over another. And the only reason a reader will keep coming back for more is the satisfaction and the established chemistry. In other words, they are getting, from you, something unique that no other writer can provide. When this kind of familiarity begins to happen, a writer can claim to have established their authentic writing voice.
I am a versatile writer. I weave a blog is not the way I write a poem, an article or a novel. I derive pleasure in exploring different writing styles, offering different perspectives to diverse audiences. I should delve into uncharted territories and continue to evolve and not remain stuck in my comfort zone. I should be able to let loose and allow myself to explore the strange realms of imagination and create works of art. I am a writer, after all.
But moving from my personal experiences and letting my imagination soar does not, in any way, take away my authority as a writer. If anything, stretching my creativity will take me to new and greater heights and allow me to develop facets of my character that I never knew existed. Not only do I extend my appreciation of the world at large and grow as a human being, but I also discover a new potential within me. This process of expansion, if I allow it to happen organically, believing in my powers and letting my personality shine, could be the unveiling of a ‘new self’. The self I was meant to become all along.
And perhaps, just perhaps, I get to become the kind of writer the world has been waiting for all along!