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Finding a Voice

When I first began this journey into the writing world, therre were questions asked of me which left me puzzled and vulnerable. I really dislike that feeling. I was told that I had to decide on a platform for myself and find my inner voice.

Isn’t that what writing is? Using your inner voice to tell stories centered on some question or thought in your own mind?

And what is a writer’s platform. To me a platform is much the same as a soapbox. It is that raised stage you stand on to shout to the crowd what is wrong with the world, or what is right, or who needs to be put in a place of power to make things right in that very wrong world. That’s is a platform.

And then, I felt I had figured it out. A platform is really what a writer stands on philosophically in order to see a clear direction to take with her/his career.

That’s when I truly began questioning my philosophy regarding where I stand in the writing game. And make no mistake, it is a game. There are players who are very good in a variety of aspects and carry luck with them. There are players who do middling well and have moderate luck visit occasionally. There are players who seldom win more than a hand every new moon. Then comes those who haven’t succeeded yet in winning anything but refuse to stop playing. There are, of course, also those who used to play and gave up because they’d lost too much; too much of themselves, too much from their wallet or too much respect of their friends and family.

Obviously, the ex-players did not succeed with their platform. I wonder how many writers would begin this journey if their were asked for this information before they signed up. Would they really have wanted to make such an effort and couple it with learning how to market themselves and their product, the ubiquitous short story or book.Would they decide in favor of expenditures for guild fees. more schoooling and workshops or seminars on a regular basis just so that they could feel somewhat adequate to the task of writing for fun and profit?

In fact, would many aspiring wordsmiths actually sign up for this treadmill of marketing, constant networking, learning, pounding the pavement for leads and interviews, book signings and readings, and the occasional conference?

Personally, I think the answer is yes. ‘ve met young, enthusiastic writers who came into this job without a care in the world for what they had to do to get published. They felt anything they had to do was worth the effort so long as the end result was publication. I used to be one of them. I recognize the symptoms.

It’s a different animal now than thirty years ago; this beast called creative writing. The needs are different. The expectations are vastly different as are the avenues to publications. In many ways there are more opportunities now than ever. In other ways, the standards are much better and worse. Debate rages on that front by both new and experienced writers.

Is the platform one for the intelligencia or blue-collar values and ethics? Are children singing your praises or young mothers? Do fashion magazines assign features to you because of your wit and outstanding sense of future trends? Or are you one who rides the rainbow of selection and garners those places in the world where your interest focuses at that sparkling moment in time?

And where did voice go, you ask. Voice, for me, must always be one of honesty. It is how I’m made. It matters not what I write about so long as I write with honesty. I can show genuine remorse as well as outrage. I can portray intimacy without sex and love without words of expression. And I can speak from the viewpoint of experience about living without; without a partner, a child, money, expectation, rancor, etc. If I have experienced it, I can write about it, whether in fiction or non-fiction.

I think most writers are the same to greater or lesser degree. It’s intent which labels both platform and voice. My intent is always to leave the reader with both a question in mind and a desire to ponder the words they just read. Isn’t that really what all writers are supposed to be doing?

What is your platform and your voice? Have you looked at them lately? Just curious.

Categories: Writing and Poetry
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