My voice is unique. This is a gift. It is also a curse. Let me explain.
Each of us writers has a unique voice. We have a finite palette of words to choose from, no matter what the language – for English, there are about 171,500 words in the Oxford English Dictionary. Writers combine this palette with their own experience, regional idioms, and cultural norms in spinning stories that reflect their own personalities. I cannot write exactly like anyone else, and no one can’t write exactly like I do. I think this is a good thing.
I look at my unique voice as a curse as well. This is because I have always been “different.” My physical size and the manner in which it manifested its final form scarred me for life. At 14, I was 6 feet tall and about 140 pounds. I joke that I was two-dimensional, but I saw a picture of myself recently from that time and I seriously looked like a space alien. Add in a larger-than-normal intellect and curiosity, and you get a mix that fits into exactly zero adolescent social situations.
This circumstance comes through in my writing as well. No matter how much we writers want to be different, people won’t read our work unless it conforms to unspoken patterns. Many artists face the same conundrum, and most temper their wildest impulses to fit their work into a very narrow space, satisfying both their sensibilities and the market. It sometimes takes significant time to find this balance, and many never do.
I am still in search of this space, and I am grateful for anyone who is brave enough to accompany me as I cast about in the darkness.
Where are you on your quest?