Tara Lazar always has some good tips, and last week was no different. In her post, she mentions reading a lovely, lyrical piece and then trying to write one in that style… only to find that it was terrible. Her lesson learned? Well, she found out what WASN’T her voice.
I’m on board with that. I spent a couple of years trying to write picture books. Probably because telling my daughter stories as a small child kick-started my brain back into writing mode. (I remembered I could write! And it was fun!)
I learned a LOT trying to write picture books. Especially that I am not a picture book writer. (At least not now.) One day I gave up in frustration and wrote a couple pages in response to one of Kathy Temean’s Free Fall Friday illustrations. Lo and behold, the writing came surprisingly… easy.And when it was critiqued, folks were… encouraging. And so I found my voice.
(I should have known. I’ve never used one word where two will do, especially if one is descriptive. 🙂 )
But I still play with amazingly bad “pomes” – snippets of verse that probably should never see the light of day. Why?
Because it’s freeing! Just like dancing around your bathroom waving the toilet wand while singing loudly to the Blake Babies is freeing! (You mean nobody else does that while they clean? Ooops…)
Go ahead. Take a break. Write something in another style. Chandler’s noir. Cartland’s romance. Even Asimov’s sci-fi. It probably won’t be good. You never know, though.
And even if it isn’t good, you’re stretching some mental muscles. And learning what makes your voice yours.
I finished polishing up my last revision of my fantasy novel. So while I’m submitting it, I might just enjoy writing a few pomes. Just to get the kinks out before I tackle some more of my first draft of a historical novel. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be brave and make it a romance…