All the rejections from articles, essays, and poems lay in a heavy heap over my heart. They are evidence of one thing that I have to keep learning repeatedly.
Success doesn’t come from replicating successful writers.
This I have to tell myself after yet another agent/teacher recommends I read a bestselling book in hopes their innovative ideas, voice or style rubs off on me.
This after my insecurity makes me succumb to Oprah’s often told lesson of trying to imitate Barbara Walters. But she learned, “I can be a better Oprah Winfrey than a pretend Barbara Walters.”
But no matter how tempting it is to try to follow in your idol’s successful path, you will not fulfill your purpose until you have the courage to step out on your own two feet.
After almost a decade of being a freelance writer, I’ve learned that while you can get jobs by writing like everyone else, you become irreplaceable when you learn to hone in on what makes you you. You become valuable when you stop trying to write like everyone else and let your own voice shine through. You will become the sought after writer who doesn’t have to actively search for work when you have the confidence to write like you.
This may take years to build up courage.
It may take awhile to find your voice and your audience.
But you will find it.
I started a writing career first in Hawaii, then in California and back to Hawaii. I also write for a company on the East Coast. But what sets me apart from the gazillion other writers around the world is my experience, story and style.
That doesn’t me you don’t follow rules or listen to editors and agents. I’ve actually spent several years getting a BA in English learning how to write like everyone else so that I could afford to write like myself. But once you get it, once you learn the basic skills so that you can write, let yourself go. Stop comparing your writing to every successful writer/blogger/author out there. You won’t get very far if you adapt the style and tone of a writer you envy. Your writing will take off only when you let the words be indicative of your personality. When you risk showing who you are to the world, that’s when people will take notice. That’s when your writing will blossom.