Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Getting an Eyeball on Your Writing

Getting an eyeball on your writing
 I've been writing blog posts for many years now. I started after a couple published writing friends said I needed to have a blog if I was a writer. We (writers) now have so many places to get a "presence" on the internet, that it has become a topic of conversation among writers where to spend precious writing time. But back then, blogging was about the only place to do that. I started my blog so I could find my "voice" in writing again and just see what interested me. 

I had the blogspot with the title "Christian Book Scout" for a full year before I ever posted. All I knew is that I had published a lot of book reviews and read a lot of manuscripts and books. I wrote magazine and newspaper articles and tried my hand at several nonfiction book proposals and manuscripts, too. I did a stint on a mini-syndicated parenting column, but I found that I hated revealing too much about my four boys and the privacy issues. I wrote a book column in a magazine for many years and liked that assignment. But on my blog and on others' blogs I've posted on just about everything that interests me. It's a topic list about as jumbled as my brain. 

Sometime back something clicked after I had yet another disaster at my house. I'm describing my disaster in great detail to my friends and they were laughing at the way I talked about it. This has been my whole life--one "disaster" after another and me making fun of myself through it all. Me, leaning wholly on God while in the midst of it. God keeping me from a much worse outcome. Somehow I always picture myself in the middle of chaos, falling back on God (tripping into His waiting arms!) and Him smiling down at me. It's like Peter in the middle of the storm at sea. I have mentioned more than once how I'm like Peter. I can really relate to him.

Because of all this, I think my focus has cleared and my sweet spot in writing emerged. I have been in some very serious life and death situations, am married to a man who helps people through their own life and death situations, and I've learned that I just have to trust God and keep smiling through my gritted teeth. Grit--it can be dry as sand or sweet as sugar.In whatever circumstances, I'm looking for the way closest to God and Him calming me in the storm. It's the only viewpoint from which I can make sense of everything.

If you write enough, you start to see a pattern in theme, how you express it, where you feel you best express a character's conflicts. Writing becomes like your life. You begin to view the writing you're doing in the same way you view your life and your worldview.It does take a bit of standing back. You try to see your writing from a perspective outside yourself. 

So, do you think you're finding your sweet spot in writing? How do you get perspective on your voice, your characters, your choice of genre/settings? How do you see yourself as you're writing? (And is there anyone in the Bible you can relate to??)


  1. I think the only way to find one's natural groove is by writing regularly. A person can study the craft forever, but for me it's the actual doing that helps the most.

  2. I think the only way to find one's natural groove is by writing regularly. A person can study the craft forever, but for me it's the actual doing that helps the most.

  3. First, I'll agree with Rick. But then, I might take a different angle. After all, there are different kinds of writing. Writing I've done includes song writing, speech writing, term paper writing, sermon writing, and letters to the editor. Most of the time, I will do research, but I don't do character development or plotting in the process.

    However, even diverse writing helps with novels. It does help you develop style/voice. I had a college professor who more than once complimented me on my writing style, based on my term papers. I may be more speaking out than I would with a third person POV narrative, but it does train you to think on the issues at hand.


    1. Writing for college term papers is definitely a different kind of writing than creative writing, but even college-style creative writing is different than writing commercially. But I do think you "start" by doing that kind of writing before you move to a more commercial writing. When I was writing for the newspaper, that was way different than the kind of writing I did for magazines.

      Then, when I was doing a lot of editing and "fixing" of fiction, I would have to immerse myself into the voice of the client, and I felt over time I "lost" my own voice. The deliberate "free" writing in a blog brought that back, because I then immersed myself in topics I chose, things that interested me.

      I wrote fiction in Doc Hensley's class and found my stride in not only applying fiction techniques, but also finally writing the kind of story I heard in my head.

      Anyway, it's a combination of continuing to write, writing in the genre that fits your voice, and finding that voice.

      Style is dictated by what kind of writing you are doing, though you do learn it well (and forget about the mechanics so much once you learn that as well as your name) by doing that over and over.


  4. Yup, I even say that--you have to write. That is why I was writing a blog at first to even get there. I could read books forever, but it's when you write that you find your sweet spot.

    But thanks for the comment emphasizing this aspect.

  5. Fantastic post. I do believe it's best to write in your own voice, the one you find. I think keeping a journal helps us "hear" our true voice. I was blessed to have teachers who kept me writing as a youngster and who encouraged keeping a journal. I still have those journals and they are hilarious to read. Now we have blogging which helps us find that voice.

    Funny about the disasters creating content. In the early 80s my then-boyfriend and I were looking at the moon and stars through his camera zoom lenses in a Kansas wheat field. The drunk owner of that field discovered us and put a rifle to our heads. We obviously survived the ordeal but I lost that boyfriend when he was crying in terror and I said, "I can hardly wait to write about this!"

    It's just how you think when you're a writer!

  6. When I did transcription I learned to take the basic information and create letters in the doctor's voice, which of course he'd review before signing. I think I have found my writing voice, but it's interesting that sometimes a character's voice talks over me. Is that weird?

    Karla, that's too funny.