Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stay True to You

As we travel through life we are constantly afforded opportunities to learn. Will we
ignore those opportunities, casting aside the chance to improve ourselves, or
will grab on to that chance with gratitude and humility, choosing to instead cast
aside our egos? It's almost a comforting thought - that we never really "arrive" in 
this lifetime to the best possible version of ourselves, whether intellectually, 
spiritually, emotionally. When will we "arrive?" From my humble perspective, we 
will "arrive" when we are in Heaven in the presence of our Maker. Until then, we
should live with the realization that we always have room for improvement. This
is a bit of a heavy way to lead into a lighter, but still vital topic concerning writing.

Stay true to yourself. Last post I mentioned that I had written a story for a certain
children's magazine last February, and I never heard back from them. What 
had gone wrong? I had studied the stories in a few of their issues to ascertain
what type and stories they published and had written a story for the "themed" 
issue for which they were accepting submissions. The reason didn't hit
me at first. Once I decided to write another short story for a different magazine,
I again studied the stories they published. However, this time, the finished 
product was a true reflection of my writing style. 

Over this last week, I've realized that the first short story I wrote was too 
similar to all the other stories that particular publisher must see. It was very 
nice and sweet, but it didn't stand out or have a unique voice. Lesson learned.
Stay true to yourself in your writing. Although it is important to tailor story 
themes and word counts to a certain publisher's specifications (at least in
writing for children), don't sacrifice your own unique writing voice or style.
I feel I should qualify that in this and the last post when referring to my "short
stories" for magazines, these are separate from the 3 manuscripts I have 
written for a children's book series. I pray that as I walk through this journey, 
in life and in writing, I remain teachable, continuing to learn from my experiences
and those around me. 


  1. Yes, Tanya, remaining teachable is something we could ALL benefit from! But you are right, too, in that we must remain true to ourselves. If we write with someone else's style in mind, we're limiting God's vision for US.

  2. The balance between what others expect and who we really are is precarious at times. Sometimes we find a great fit other times we just have to cut our losses! I hope they publish your story!

  3. Very true, Cynthia. Limiting what God would have for us
    is the last thing we want to do. His plans and creative ideas
    are so much bigger than we can imagine.

    Thanks, Esther. I hope so too, and you're right it is a fine
    balance. I hope you've been feeling well. :)

  4. Great post! One of the reasons was agent signed me (I believe) was because my writing voice stood out. But the novel didn't sell. Then I went down the path of trying to figure out the market and conform to it. Tough lesson for me to learn.Now I'm back on track, using my own voice and it's a much better fit!

  5. Thanks, Gina. Part of me wishes we didn't have to learn things the hard way, but that's how we grow personally as individuals and professionally as writers. :)