You’ve probably read all the encouraging advice that claims you have a unique story in you that only you can tell! Yeah, yeah, right? When you’re suffering from a decades-long (or is it just me??) case of writer’s block, it’s hard to believe that a best-selling story is burning a hole in your chest. But we can’t completely ignore everyone preaching this same hopeful message, can we?
Why are you the only one who can write your particular story?
There are a few reasons no one can write just like you.
- Your Writer’s Fingerprint: Consider that we each have a writer’s fingerprint. That’s because no one was raised by the same parents who raised you. No one went to the same school on the same bus wearing the same clothes as you. Only you know how it all felt. No one had the same first kiss as you (well, one other person did, but they’re not trying to tell your story). See where I’m going with all of this? You have a unique life experience stored inside of you!
- Your Unique Voice: It’s not just the sound of your voice I’m referring to when I say you have a unique voice. People have a particular way of talking, and that translates to writing. Some authors use $5 words, while others write informal diction, colloquial language, and casual vernacular. Whatever you want to call it, they write how real people talk! Then, you have writers who write in first-person, while others use what I’ve heard referred to as the “spooky narrator voice,” meaning the omniscient (all-knowing) eye-in-the-sky narrator. There are many more examples of how writers’ unique voices come out on the page, but you catch my drift. You’ll bring something special to the table that no one else can but you!
- Creative, Wonderful You: I use Nicola Yoon as an example often (so expect that!), but in Everything, Everything, she adds so much flair to the story with illustrations (by her author/artist husband, David Yoon), one-sentence-long chapters, character dictionaries (in Everything, Yoon adds in sections called “Madeline’s dictionary” where she gives a familiar word a specific definition that relates to how the character interprets the word). It’s great fun to read, and evident that no other author could have created something so signature Nicola Yoon! Well, guess what? You have a signature style, too!
I know I’m stating the obvious here, but for some of you (and myself), it needs to be said plainly. Are you ready? Whatever story you put on paper will be the only one ever written. There could never be another. It’ll be a (fill in your name here) original! Sure, there will be other thrillers (romance, YA, or historical fiction) on the market. Thousands, if not more! But the words on paper in the order you put them…well, that’s never been done before. You could run it through every online plagiarism tracker and turn up nothing. It’s all you. It was always all you. No one can tell your story because it exists only in your mind, heart, and soul.
The question is, will you be brave enough to write your unique story, regardless of whether it gets published or sits in a drawer in your desk because no one wants it? Whether it makes the New York Times Best Seller list or gets dragged in the reviews? Whether it gets published, but your mother immediately notices a typo the editor missed on page fourteen?
If this much time in your life has gone by and you still haven’t taken the leap, what are you waiting for? It sort of seems like this dream just won’t die, right? Well, maybe it’s time you do something about it…