Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Very Important Revelation

This blog post will be inspired by school yet again. It's kind of sad how in the few blog posts I've put up since coming back to school, a lot of them have been about or inspired by school. But I promise, this one won't be boring...or at least I hope it won't.

In case you didn't know/forgot, for one class we're working exclusively with Jane Austen's Persuasion which is not only by one of my favorite authors, it's my favorite book by her. So, in case you've never been to a college-level English class working with a text, you tear that thing apart. You learn more than you ever could reading it on your own. I've basically been plummeted on the head every day with how brilliant Austen is (like I didn't already know). So in all of this and being overwhelmed by one of my favorite books yet again, I began to despair.

Why? Jane Austen is so brilliant. She has the best narrative voice I've ever read, she's so witty I can't even handle it, and on top of that she makes entertaining stories that also enlighten her audience. I could never produce something half as witty as she wrote. Then of course I thought of other books/authors that put me to shame. How could I ever plot and world-build like J.K. Rowling? How could I ever write action and characterization like Suzanne Collins? How could I ever write something so meaningful like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? How could I be funny like Kiersten White? I can't do it. I can't do it!

Then, in the midst of my darkness, a small trickle of light came. I don't have to be like them. Think about all of the real greats out there. None of them is the same. Each author has different strengths. Sure, overall they make the elements of style, plot, characters, setting, etc. work together. But they all do it differently, and one area is clearer than others. Why pressure myself to be like them? I need to be me and find what I do best. I need to find what's important for me to share, not try to copy my favorite authors. Somewhere, at the edge of my fingertips, my voice and purpose as a writer is there, waiting to break free. I need to search and find it.

Plus, if you've ever read Love and Freindship, a collection of stories Jane Austen wrote as a teenager, you start to feel better about yourself. Because if she started out like that and ended up as she did, then there's hope for all of us.


  1. Great post! I agree - every writer is different and you have to find your own voice and what makes you special.

  2. As Sammy Davis Jr. once sang, "I've got to be me, I've got to be me, what else can I be but what I am?" Your post is an excellent reminder of these wise words.

    BTW, thank you for reminding everyone on Bird's-eye View that authors and their words really can do more for the world than we might remember to give ourselves credit for.

  3. I love your last paragraph! If we give up before we find our greatness, we'll never know what we're capable of.

  4. Some very awesome thoughts here. Loved your post, and your blog. You won't mind if I tip the follower count into the three digits, will you? :)

  5. I love Jane Austen~ she's so stinking clever, it kills me :) Thanks for the recommendation at the bottom of your post~ I'll have to look for it!

  6. This is the kind of encouragement we could all use.

    So what if JK Rowling is now one of the most powerful authors in the world. She started with an idea, a manuscript and a dream, just as any of us. Her greatness would not have been recognized if she tried to be like someone else.

    Jane and JK did them, now we can do ourselves and be proud of it, too.

  7. Good advice! One of the most important things is not to compare ourselves to other authors. We will be our own great. And I love Persuasion! Jane Austen really is incredible, she writes such beautiful love stories when her own love story was cut short. She never married and died young of a debilitating disease. But she was an amazing author. :)

  8. Awesome epiphany! It's totally true. We each need to find our own voice.