What feels right.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sometimes I like to play in the footsteps of others. I do things because those greater than me did them. I do things because I saw someone else do it and I liked it. I do things not because I feel that it's right inside or because it's part of my personality. I do it because it was done before and it worked. I do it hoping maybe it will work for me.


I don't develop my own methods or my own styles. No. That won't do. They didn't do that. It might fail. It might not work. Mostly, I don't go my own way because of fear. I'm afraid to do it differently.

If I could tell you how many drafts I've written for the first nine paragraphs for my novel, you'd stare at me like I was completely crazy. But honestly I don't know how many I've been through. Five? Sixteen? Twenty? Too many to count. Over and over, I just keep trying to make it perfect. I don't want to do it wrong. I don't want to plan too little or plan too much. I don't want to give too much away but I don't want it to be hard to understand. I want it perfect.

one day I'm wearing flip-flops, the next there's two inches of snow...crazy iowa weather.

I try manipulating the novels written by my favorite authors. How did they start? What do they give away at the beginning? I try doing what they did. But it doesn't feel right. I doesn't work. Nothing is going the way I want it to. I can't get past chapter one. I'll never get past chapter one.

I delete what little I've written of chapter one and two and file them away in my drafts. It's time to start somewhere new. I need to look at this from different eyes. I dig through my writing bag. Notebooks. Pens. Loose papers. I pull out Spilling Ink. It's my favorite writing book because it doesn't give me rules I have to follow. It gives me choices.

I flip through the pages. They're marked on and sticky notes are poking out from the edges. I turn to the section about narrative voices. I can't stop thinking about first person. After reading The Hunger Games, I've been in love with the first person narrative voice. I've always written in third. But as much as I love first, I'm afraid to use it.

"How do you know when you've hit on the right narrative voice? You'll feel it...All of a sudden your story will start to fall into place, and you'll know how to tell it." -Ellen Potter, Spilling Ink, pg. 76.
All at once I know what to do. I forget about THG narrative, HP narrative, Percy Jackson narrative, and I am Number Four narrative. I just do what feels right.


Chapter two is slowly coming together exactly how I want it to. I'm writing how I write. Not how anyone else writes. How I do. This is why I've been stuck for so long, afraid of making any tiny mistake. Because I wasn't doing what I do. I was a shadow of my favorite writers. And after so long, I finally find my voice. I finally stop doing what I've labeled as the "way to do it" and I just do what feels right.


I think we all sometimes get stuck in trying to shadow what we've always seen as "the right way." In blog posts, in photography, in writing. But sometimes we have to form our own style and our own methods. We have to do what we feel is right. Because otherwise, we'll never be happy with what we do. Because there's a voice inside trying to tell you how you as a unique and amazing person should do things. When you don't listen, nothing works. When you do? Everything does.

xo. Megan

23 comments:

  1. Yesyesyes! I thought about this a lot last night as I tried to pick up writing a few stories I'd stowed away. Finding my own voice...it's not easy, but it's so worth it. I bet your story is going to be amazing. :)

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    1. Ah. YES! I've struggled with finding my writer's voice for a while. It's finally starting to emerge for the shadows and I'm bursting with excitement.

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  2. YES. this is absolutely beautiful, M'dear! So so true. Wow. LOVED this.


    Cindi

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  3. That's so true! And the main reason why I haven't started editing my 2010 NaNo novel yet? I can't decide between first and third person. ;P


    eve @ essence of eve

    p.s. I could stare at photo #2 for hours. So pretty! <3

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    1. I wrote my Nano novel in third and then decided to rewrite it in first. It's slow going, though, because I'm trying to focus on the novel (actually, series) I talked about in the post. Nano is good practice for me, but I don't 'seriously' edit those novels, usually.

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  4. So insightful & beautiful pictures

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  5. Great post, Megan. And Spilling Ink is my all time favorite writing book. If your story is even half as good as your blog, it's going to be amazing!

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    1. aw. Thanks dear! I discovered the book last spring and finally convinced mom to order it for me. It never leaves my writing bag. Sometimes I just look at it, not really reading it, just remembering why I love writing so much.

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  6. I completely agree. Absolutely beautiful Megan!

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  7. Yes yes yes! Megan, this is so beautiful and true! I actually thought of that today with some of my posts that I don't think are good enough...it's definitely hard to find your voice. I think, too, that it's not just something you find. You might never find it, honestly.
    When it comes to writing, it's something I need to start doing more. :) I've basically always written in first person. I find it so hard to write in third!

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  8. all of this. just my life as of late. i can't write anymore because i feel as though i am taking the exact same path another took. i can't do what i want to because it has to be perfect, otherwise it's not worth doing to me. but now? i think i'm going to buy "spilling ink" buy a cup of zebra hot-cocoa from starbucks, get out my notebook, and just write. no restrictions, just write.
    this was just a stellarly stellar post. i seriously think i love you :))
    -jocee <3

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    1. hey there, stranger! Do. it. spilling ink is definitely buy-worthy. It's my constant go to when I'm stuck and just great. Now? go write.

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  9. Wow. Awesome post and so inspiring! Nuf said.

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  10. This was so me, and so inspiring! I can't tell you how many times I have been afraid to express myself... deleting drafts, etc. This was really well-written, and I loved those shots, especially number two and three :D

    xoxo,
    Jessica @ Diary of a Beautiful Soul

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  11. AGREED. you are you and there is no one like you so we might as well be OK with that...and waiting for our style whether it's writing or photography or art.

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  12. LOVE!! You're completely right...it's hard to find your own style at first, but when you do, everything falls into place. And Spilling Ink is an amazing book. I love it! =)

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  13. Oh wow! You wrote exactly what I've been thinking of, simply beautiful! I'm finally finding my voice, and it's wonderful.

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  14. Wonderful pictures! I love he second on of the notebook on the ground :)

    ~sillajophotography.blogspot.com

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  15. I'm in love with that last paragraph. So well stated. Life is basically finding your voice and learning to listen to it. And you're right, when you don't, nothing works and when you do, everything does. :)

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  16. This is such and inspiring post, miss Meg! And your pictures are gorgeous. :)

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  17. This post has helped me start writing and working out a story idea ive had for a while! Thank you! :)

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  18. this reminds me that I recently said something about what person narrative I was using in a post and I realized later that I had said it wrong, lol. I enjoy being able to read/view your fresh perspective on things - I promise I will buy a copy of your novel when you finish it =)

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