Imagine a world where you could do anything, and it was perfectly legal to copy ideas that belonged to other writers. Assume there were no intellectual property rights and no legal consequences. Once you land into this imaginary haven for the unoriginal, noncreative, and lethargic writers, try to visualize your own creative writing career.
You’d copy the ideas from articles and stories like everyone else around you until you’d get tired and bored. As all the articles and stories would be almost the same, you’d have no edge over the other writers and you won’t develop a voice of your own. You’d be a part of the crowd. You’d lose your uniqueness. The very uniqueness that motivated you, in the first place, to seek expression in the form of written words.
When you’d clutter the internet by copying ideas from already written articles, you’d be wasting your time and the time of so many others. One day, you’d be looking for true inspiration but that true inspiration would be buried beneath a pile of thousands of unoriginal, copied and slightly modified versions of the same article. Like the movies that have a very similar storyline and you just keep scanning for the original ones on rotten tomatoes. True inspiration strikes like lightning. You know that much.
Coming back to reality, try to develop a style, a voice. Try to create a brand. Consider yourself as someone who is always giving new ideas or someone who is always trying to come up with a novel take, a different angle. Unless people like to read your take, your unique voice on a topic, you are just another writer.
There is no doubt about it — it is difficult. But I have seen people who just chose a particular way of doing things and it gave their craft an identity, their creative brand. A photographer chose to take pictures of guys, girls, and children while jumping into the water. There are many people in the world and so many lakes, rivers and pools. He took his pictures when the kids were in the air, just before touching the surface of the water. The pictures were fantastic. Then he used Photoshop to make the background black & white. This made the jumping kids stand out in the picture. The resulting pictures looked breathtakingly alive, vibrant, and realistic.
Just be yourself. That’s easier said than done. The ugly self-doubt begins to gnaw away at our confidence. Who am I to have a style? Who do I think I am? Ernest Hemingway?
In college, I imitated Hemingway’s style in my short stories. I absolutely liked it. Surprisingly everybody else liked it too. In my stories, only the characters spoke. The story unfolded slowly as the reader knew a bit more with each dialogue. I wrote many no-love stories with the style. In the no-love stories, the characters ignored love due to social influences. I enjoyed writing the dialogues. It became my short story voice.
Developing your unique style may be easier than you think. Just replace these steps with your variations:
- Choose the topic that can help you learn something new at this point. It should be something you need to learn anyway for your work or personal life.
- Read the works of other people about this topic. Take your notes and write down the references.
- When you feel that you have learned a bunch about your chosen topic, sit down to write.
- Write everything the way you understood it and the way it can apply to your life.
- Every human being’s brain is wired uniquely. It cannot be identical. If you give your version of your research, it will be your voice and your style.
- Just don’t worry if you don’t like your style or voice. It is yours. We often ignore our unique gifts because we have been living with them all our lives.
- After you have written your piece then it is the usual drill. Read it, proofread it, correct grammar mistakes and spellings, edit, edit and then edit some more.
You don’t need to follow these exact steps, use your creative freedom. You can develop your own strategy to choose a topic. But it should not be already hot in the market. It should be unique but relevant. You may choose to skip the research part if you already know enough about the topic. Just remember if you start writing with an outline and some solid ideas, you’ll be able to focus entirely on developing a unique style and voice.
It is easy to write if you have your audience sitting in front of you, in your imagination. Just let your imaginary audience ask questions. Listen to their concerns and doubts, then incorporate the answers into your writing.
You can apply the law of attraction here as a fun tool. If you attract creativity, it will come to you. Use the power of intention to be creative. Your mind’s magical selective perception will make it impossible for you to be unoriginal or noncreative.
Happy hunting for your voice.