Tag Archives: anxiety

Discovering Your Voice: What Type of Writer Are You?

13983083088_f4fe7e77b8_zOne of the most important aspects when writing is knowing what type of writer you are. I’m not referring to genre, though that is something you must know before you begin your novel. I’m talking about the voice you as an author portray.

Finding your unique voice as a writer will help you to gain a larger audience. But, in order to find your voice, you must know yourself. This means sorting through your emotions to find the core of what makes you different from other people.

While searching for what makes you unique, take an honest look at yourself and discover if you fear being judged. Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent trilogy, suffered from severe anxiety after the success of her first published novel. She had difficulty starting Insurgent, the second book in the trilogy, because of this anxiety. Ernest Hemingway also suffered from anxiety because of the pressure of readers’ expectations.

Fear of judgment can really harm your writing. It can dry up your creative juices and make you freeze. You may not be able to write at all. You keep thinking about how people may hate your novel, or you want to know what people will think of your book before you’ve finished or even started it.

Overcoming this fear will not only enable you to write, and write what makes you happy, but will allow you to continue searching for your unique voice.

Developing your own voice doesn’t come immediately. It doesn’t come quickly either. There’s a reason why debut novels often aren’t bestsellers. Many times writers are still developing their unique voices after they’ve written their first novel, and so it’s rare to see an author’s first written novel end up being published. Most authors have written at least one novel before the one they got published.

Take your time discovering your unique writer’s voice. Part of the journey to finding your voice is knowing why you write. It would be great to earn money off of writing. You invest so much time and energy in your novel that some recognition would be appreciated, but being a writer is more than earning money and acknowledgement. If those two reasons are the only reasons for why you write, you won’t have the endurance to wade through the murky, judgmental, and often convoluted world of publishing.

Find your internal reasons for writing. Accept that you are a writer, and that writing is a part of your identity.

Ask yourself, if you knew that you’d never make a cent off of your writing, would you still write?

(Photo courtesy of Nilufer Gadgieva.)

Don’t Sweat It. Love Your Writing.

Often times writers worry about their writing. Worrying in itself isn’t horrible, but sometimes the anxiety and doubt a writer has about his writing takes over. Questions like if his novel is ever going to get published, if he’s going to be successful, or if everything he’s doing is just a big waste of time become predominant. And as those questions and doubt crowd his mind, he may never send out his manuscript or may abandon a work in progress.

Don’t stop writing. Don’t let anxiety and doubt take control. So much of the concern writers get stems from misconceptions.

Forget failure.

  • Failure isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it hurts, but you can move past failure and learn from it. Fitzgerald and Melville both faced multiple failures during their lives, but they’re considered two of the greatest writers of their age.
  • Failure doesn’t mean your work sucks. Just because not everyone loves your writing doesn’t mean you can’t write. There will always be people who love your novel, and others who don’t. Think of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Though Rowling got an agent quickly, twelve publishing houses rejected her novel. It was a year later when she got a publishing house, and even then she was told to get a day job because she’d never make any money being a children’s author.

Failure can sometimes feel like you’re never going to make it. Don’t let it stop you. Keep writing, go to workshops, join a critique group, etc.

Agents and publishers aren’t all knowing.

  • Agents and publishers like to believe they know everything. I’ve even seen some of them say they know what the next bestseller will be. The deals publishing houses make are pretty much a direct correlation with how well they believe your novel will sell. However, publishing history is filled with rejections and huge advances for novels that never sold well. Publishing houses guard their sales statistics, and tend to only share their success stories. The truth is, publishing houses lose money on books every year. And have you looked at some of the authors agents represent? Most of them aren’t wildly successful with bestsellers. If agents and publishers knew the market, they’d all be representing bestsellers.

The bottom line is that the market is unpredictable. Agents and publishers do have experience in the publishing world, but they can’t read readers’ minds and the market is constantly changing.

Every writer, at some point, doubts their work. Anxiety comes with being a writer. The key is to push through despite the worry, and to improve without letting uncertainty get in the way.

Perseverance is the key to success.

How do you deal with anxieties surrounding your writing?