I found this little gem while rummaging through my wife's studio office. This book is called Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process by Peter Elbow. It's kind of dated, but I'm figuring that like powerful art or design, powerful writing is timeless. My wife — unlike me — went to one of those big-time four-year universities where you actually have to read books, take test and think about stuff everyday. So, every now and then while I'm pilfering through her desk in desperate search of a stamp or a staple, I'll discover a little somethin'-somethin' like this. A year ago, before I had any interest in writing, this book would have not been caught by the radar of my artistic eye.
Lately, when I get a second or two, I've been skimming this book and learning more about voice and free writing. And with no training beyond the advice of successful writing friends, I've discovered that I've been doing a few things right. I've been reading. I've been writing everyday (freewriting, poems, prose poetry, etc.). I read out loud. I've been developing my voice.
I think I've either found my voice or, at least, I'm on the right track. The problem seems to be that my voice comes through strong when I blog -- although I don't use that voice here much anymore. But when I try to apply my voice to the books I've been writing, something isn't working, my voice goes stiff. I've been reading a whole lot of books for children as of late, and stiff monotonous writing appears to be in vogue. I don't want to write like that. I want my writing to possess a certain soul, a rhythm without rhyme, a colloquial language, imperfect, that I picked up as a kid. I want my words to be touched, tasted and smelled. I think multi revisions may be the answer.
Another thing I've learned about myself through reading this book is that I tend to write with my real voice, not a made up fictional personality. The thing is, writing in your real voice, besides the tendency it has towards exhibitionism, which I guess all writing is to a certain extent, is personal. Negative feedback on your person can throw you for a loop, especially for beginning writers. I've found this especially true with my anonymous blog. When writing under a pseudonym (although, not fictional), I care less about people liking me, and more about expressing my true self regardless.
So, I guess, back to the writing board, and practice makes perfect.Wait..I mean revising makes perfect.
Thanks for reading.