After almost six years of meeting, the voices of my fellow Thursday Night Writers have become pretty familiar to me and easy to spot.  The vocabulary and cadence are like fingerprints that don’t seem to change.  However, it wasn’t until recently that I seriously considered what my own voice was.

About a month ago, we did a couple of writing exercises one night.  In one scenario, the instruction was to think of something we either liked or disliked, and then write a story as if we had the opposite feeling.  For the second exercise, the point was to think of a dozen details that could be used as description and then write two or three paragraphs using those details.  It was fun and I had no problem writing two short pieces.  Then we each read our work aloud and it was pointed out to me, and I immediately saw, that I had used exactly the same voice in response to two totally different scenarios.

My voice in both pieces was cynical, which actually seems normal to me because I am not a Pollyanna and believe that there are a lot of negative and malignant things in our world.  But, the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that, if I’m cynical about the world then it is only fair that I should be cynical about myself, or at least about my writing.  I’m undertaking this appraisal of my writing with the idea that maybe I can somehow rub salve on my dark worldview and alleviate some of the aches and pains it gives to both me and my readers.

I hope this self-examination bears fruit.  When we did those exercises and then discussed them, it was an eye opener to realize that what had been so comfortable only minutes before suddenly felt foreign.  There it was, right in front of my face, challenging me to consider whether I like what I see and feel when I write.  Wish me luck.

Posted on July 28, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I also missed that writing exercise (good thing, I do not like having to write on the spot and always feel that my writing is never as good as anyone else’s–everyone is almost done and I am still thinking of something to write–I can even procrastinate on a writing exercise!). Now where was I? Oh–please focus on the bad guys. You know them so well. Do you think you are trying subvert what you consider to be your cynical tendencies and it is preventing you from writing? I personally like cynicism!! And we want more of Kit!!


  2. Eleanor Ingbretson

    Hi, Heidi!
    Hi Mike, that must have been the Thursday I was away, so I can’t really comment on your cynicism in writing those exercises. I find your voice to be humorous and deep, getting to the heart of things. Cynicism can be humorous, maybe you found it in your humor. That’s good in the right doses. Yeah, who was in that vehicle?


  3. Wow! That “exercise” took you way beyond writing issues, didn’t it? FWIW, you don’t come across as cynical toward your friends, your town, your church, your…. Maybe you can write your cynicism out in stories about the bad guys. I still want to know who was in those military vehicles in your story about Kit.


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