For today's Writing Wednesday theme, I want to discuss identity. And I'm not talking about a secret identity (if you're actually Spider-Man please feel free to let me know...I have questions) or using a pen name so your neighbors don't find out about the sci-fi world you've created in your basement.
This is about knowing who you are as a writer.
Publishing is a tough business. There will always be people who are ready and willing to give you advice on how to change your book, your platform, your presentation, and even your photo in order to get a book deal. This advice may be well-intentioned, it may even be backed up by current publishing trends. And if you're a writer who has been languishing in the querying slush pile, hit hard by rejection, discouraged, frustrated, or considering giving up, any words of advice might sound attractive.
If you don't know who you are you can easily lose yourself in the trenches of trends and advice.
You are a writer.
Now what kind of writer do you want to be? What kind of stories do you want to share? What is your vision for your books and for your career? What kind of mark do you want to leave on the world? If you identify those things before you dive into the publishing swimming pool, you will be able to hang on to your identity when advice-givers suggest you change.
Rejection may come. And it will suck. Writing authentically invites rejection and the more honest we are in our writing the more that rejection will hurt. It will feel personal because our writing is personal. We may be tempted to compromise our stories, our words, even ourselves just to avoid the sting of an awful rejection email or a negative review.
But writing with honesty, telling our stories the way they need to be told, is what being an artist is all about.
I firmly believe you have been given a story that no one else can tell. You have a unique voice, a style that is all your own. You will be most effective and your stories will be the most powerful when you embrace who you are and pour that into your books. There is nothing wrong with learning more about your craft, improving your technique, receiving constructive criticism and applying it to make your books better. That is a part of the writing process. Authenticity does not erase the need for hard work. But the core of your identity as a writer, the heart of your words, should always be the unique, beautiful quality that is all you.
Be true to who you are. Embrace the stories God has given you. No one else can tell them the way you can. God doesn't want you to imitate someone else, to copy another author, to try to fit in. He wants you to be the person He created you to be.