Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The September Edition of the IWSG

Hi there! Welcome to the September gathering of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We gather the first Wednesday of every month to air our insecurities to our community of writers and readers and offer up support for those who need a bit of encouragement and cheering. If you'd like to learn more about the IWSG or our fearless leader Captain Alex, just click on the links. Oh, and if you STILL haven't joined us, what are you waiting for? And don't forget to visit out co-hosts. You can find that list on either of those sites linked above.

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Summer heat is still camped over South Georgia and will stay here for at least another month. There are hints of fall in the evening, when the cicadas start to fade and the breeze carries a bit of a chill from the ocean. The nearby high school keeps us entertained by their loud football games which, thanks to them being a block away, we can hear the announcer's play by play, the cheerleaders, the band, and the ROAR of the crowd during every...single...play. Soon we'll be able to sit out in the courtyard with tea and enjoy the drum line without being carried away by mosquitoes. 

I hope summer treated you well. I hope you were able to be inspired, soak up some rest and relaxation and figure out those plot problems that may have been plaguing you at the end of May. I spent the summer on hiatus from writing and learned more about myself as a writer than I ever have while actually writing. As a tropical storm creeps up on the Georgia coast and the wind shakes the pines out my window, I have one piece of encouragement to offer on this IWSG day:

LISTEN TO YOUR VOICE AND WRITE FROM THERE. 

YOUR voice. Not that of your favorite author, not that of the most recent pop-fiction novel that will be displaced in three months or so after the film's fizzled. Listen to the deep places of your soul, that place where you walk barefoot and leave imprints in the mud. Get quite. Take the time to be silent with yourself and your writing and listen. Read it out loud. Does it sound like you? Does it sound familiar? If not, consider rewriting until it does. 

I'm not talking dialect. Dialect writing is hard to master and hard to make come across on the page as authentic. I'm talking about the way you speak to yourself, the way those around you express themselves. Who we are and what we do bleeds into our writing and, if we're lucky, comes out on the page. Maybe like me you've spent a lifetime avoiding your authentic voice but TRUST ME: you will not write one piece of truth if you don't first write from your own, unique voice. And I don't care if you don't like it. It's taken me 39 years to make peace with my Southern heritage, my Southern voice. Thirty-nine years of trying to write like the great classicists, the modern heroes and heroines of literature and genre. It took three months of not writing to have it come in, sit down, fix me a cup of tea and look me deep, deep in the eyes.

And you know what? I like what I see and I intend to let it out and share it. LET YOUR VOICE OUT, dear Friend. Come on. Let's see what you've got!

Cheers,


29 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What we say to ourselves internally spills onto the page.
Our cicadas have been extra loud this year. They might even drown out that football game.

Jen Chandler said...

So far they're competing with each other! Then again, football season isn't in full swing yet. Ah well...

Yes. Our internal conversations are just as important (if not more?) than what we say on paper and outloud. Happy IWSG Day, Alex :)

Anonymous said...

"Listen to your voice and write from there." Truer words were never said. I'm glad you found your voice (and can hear it over the football games). :) Happy IWSG Day!
IWSG Co-host at http://lorilmaclaughlin.com

Jen Chandler said...

Thanks, Lori! And thanks for stopping by :)

Karen Walker said...

YES YES AND YES!!!! Authenticity is so so important, both in our lives and in our writing.

emaginette said...

My little narrator is getting louder each day. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Pat Garcia said...

Jen,
You have given some great advice here. Being authentic in your writing is important and that authenticity comes from having discovered your voice.
I really enjoyed reading this, Homegirl because I am from Georgia.
All the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat Garcia

Jen Chandler said...

Thank you, Karen. I'm happy I've finally learned this lesson :)

Jen Chandler said...

Let her scream and rant and take down every word she says :) Thanks for stopping by!

Jen Chandler said...

I think I remember you telling me you're from Georgia :) Yippee! Nice to "see" you again. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great advice, Jen! I'm looking forward to seeing/reading what your muse is dictating to you to write!!!

Jen Chandler said...

Thanks, Mary. And thanks for being here! I feel like I've gone round and round this circuit for so long, searching for just what I found when I finally stopped looking. You'd think we'd learn this lesson sooner? Ah well, I suppose the victory is in the journey, eh? Cheers!

Crystal Collier said...

That's the one way we are truly, truly unique. If a reader connects with that voice, you have them for life. =)

cleemckenzie said...

If you do let that voice out, you will be unique and that's so important.

cleemckenzie said...

If you do let that voice out, you will be unique and that's so important.

Jen Chandler said...

So very true! I find that with my own reading. If I can't connect with the writer's voice, even if the writing is fantastic, I can't continue! Thanks for stopping by :)

Jen Chandler said...

So true. And it's scary, terrifying and wonderful at the same time :) Thanks for stopping by!

Michelle Wallace said...

Jen, I've always been captured by your writing voice.
You know this...I've said it many times.
So let it out...all of it!
Happy IWSG Day!

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

This is great advice: Listen to the deep places of your soul. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas today. I feel refreshed having read your words. Chocolate, please.

Stephanie Faris said...

This is such great advice! I think it's too easy to start hearing the voices of our critics when we're writing. We have to learn to be true to ourselves and write the story WE want to write.

Jen Chandler said...

You have and I THANK YOU for your unbending support and belief! I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to figure out :)

Jen Chandler said...

Thank you so much, Gail! And you take as much chocolate as you need :)

Jen Chandler said...

Oh so true! It's harder when the story you hear and the stories you're expected to write are nothing alike! But I've learned if I don't focus on the stories I need to tell, I won't write at all. Thanks for stopping by!

Lynda R Young said...

Exactly. When we stop trying to emulate someone else's writing, our own writing starts to shine.

Jen Chandler said...

So very true! It was a long process for me but I believe it was necessary to get to where I now. Thanks for stopping by!

Jen Chandler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L. Diane Wolfe said...

You can't take the Southern out of a Southern writer. If that's your voice, stick with it.

I need to post some of my cicada photos. I got some good ones last week.

Jen Chandler said...

You are so right! I don't think I could take pictures of the cicadas. I had one buzzing around on the carport a few weeks ago. It was huge! I may have freaked out a little...or a lot!

Jen Chandler said...

You are so right! I don't think I could take pictures of the cicadas. I had one buzzing around on the carport a few weeks ago. It was huge! I may have freaked out a little...or a lot!