There are authors whose works have inspired me and informed my appreciation of the art of writing over the years: Bryce Courtenay with his African tales, Tess Gerritsen, the former surgeon, Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, and Alice Walker, to name but a few.
Writers who want to grow and expand their horizons will understand that it is not enough just to read good books. But instead, they should also sit down and write their own words. Through the practice of writing, one gets to hone their craft, explore their thoughts and feelings, experiment with various writing styles, and ultimately establish their unique writing voice.
My writing, I'm realising, has evolved over the years and continues to do so. Finding my writing voice has been a process. The process can span for months, even years, as one seeks to perfect and establish their uniqueness in the writing world.
Even though I find writings by other authors intriguing and occasionally cite their words, I relish being able to create original content of my own: a quote, a poem, a blog, an article or indeed a novel. There is something about depicting your version of events, drawing from your experiences and interpretation of the world through words and expressions that deliver a sense of accomplishment.
I've realised there is more to writing than my choice of words and phrases. How I use my words to paint a picture or depict the world around me sheds light on who I am as a writer. For instance, how brave and willing am I to remain faithful to my values and principles as a writer? What message do I want to send out into the world, and how far am I willing to go not to betray my true character and personality.
While I acknowledge my imagination which facilitates and stretches my creativity, taking it to greater heights and allowing me to unveil new potentials, my experiences are the most significant resource from which I draw knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I am a product of my socialisation and interpretation of the world. How I embrace, receive and digest my experiences determines the quality of my message. This message becomes palpable and tangible in all my writings. Therefore, the exact nature of my writing should provoke, in my reader, specific thoughts and feelings that no other writer can produce in them. This way, the reader and I connect on some level through experiencing the rhythm and tone of my unique message and exploring what moves me, heart and soul.
I regard myself as an #ownvoice writer. That means I want to paint my world as authentically as possible, capturing all the nuances of my background, culture, womanhood and every facet which makes me who I am. I also want to feel and believe in what I write - if I cannot inspire myself, what chance do I have of inspiring others? As a reader, I tend to gravitate towards certain books depending on my mood and needs at the time. And I have devoured all various genres - from nauseating romance to the most riveting whodunit. When I have the daunting task of picking my next good read from a shelf, the same selection criterion always prevails - I want the writer's words to appeal to my senses and a reliable voice. For example, I know what to expect from Toni Morrison or Stephen King.
Therefore, I have concluded that establishing a reliable voice is the writer's gift to the reader. Also, the only reason they will keep coming back for more - is you provide something no other writer can provide. However, this familiarity can only happen when the writer establishes their unique, authentic writing voice.
So, what kind of writer are you?