My brother brought something to my attention. He dutifully read my blog (after I badgered him for his input) and claimed that my writing was tense and sounded nothing like me. He also made that claim that I was trying to sound like other writers. My answer? Yes and No.
Yes because I want to write. I love to write. However, if I wanted to write for my own amusement, I'd keep a diary. I have kept diaries in the past, but quickly lost interest in writing in them. For one, I don't feel comfortable writing private things when I know I'm running the risk of someone stumbling across my deepest, darkest secrets- another reason why I don't understand the Vampire Diaries series. For two, I want to entertain people. I don't see the need to write when no one will read it. And if they do read it, I don't want them to feel as if they've wasted their time. Sure, that's a risk you take when you put yourself out there, but I'm an educated gambler at any rate.
I also say "No" because I don't really know what my voice is. I've written lots of things, but different things call for different styles. I certainly wouldn't have turned anything like this in for an Advanced Writing course. Syntax, grammar, and proper punctuation is fun to learn and all, but it makes for very stale writing.
So how do you find your own, unique voice? Free writing, perhaps? That's what I'm doing right now. Letting my thoughts bounce from the void inside my skull, down through my fingers dancing across the keys, and onto the screen. I suppose my biggest problem actually comes from my brother. My brother is a great writer, always has been. I've asked him on numerous occasions to read things I've written, and he's pounced on every opportunity to pick everything apart and leave me in a puddle of tears. While that may sound as traumatizing as it is, he has also given me some great pointers. I force myself to stop and really, really think about the things I'm trying to say, and more importantly the ways in which they could be argued against. So, while I'm building my case and opinions, I'm also creating counter-opinions to strengthen my arguments against them. Should it matter if you disagree with me? No, absolutely not. Do I want to look like an idiot with unsound opinions? Once again, No.
And maybe other writers have influenced me. Isn't imitation the highest form of flattery? I don't intentionally do it, mind you. Maybe it's my subconscious envy of published, respected writers. But do I want people to enjoy and respect a shell of me? The Literary-Whore part of me is gleefully screaming "Yes! Yes! Love me and publish me and nationally syndicate me!" The Literary Critic inside of me is...kind of pouty actually because it too wants fame and fortune. I shouldn't care if I profit from my art. It gives me pleasure and that should be gain enough. It's not monetary, it doesn't buy my kids fancy clothes, but if I work really hard and strive to please no one but myself, I should be happy that I've given you my best, most original work.
What about you guys? Do you do things because you enjoy them or because you receive money and/or attention for your efforts? I'd love to hear from you!