I hope you’re having a great time with family and friends today and that the holiday’s everything you hoped for and more. I know, I know – “Where’s Part II? Why haven’t you posted it yet?” Please, allow me to be honest here.
I fully admit that I’ve been struggling with Part II of The Void for a little over a week and that’s why it’s not out yet. Please remember that I’m doing everything I can to make it good enough to post here. I’m close, but I haven’t reached that area just yet. So I have to respectfully ask for your patience for a little while longer. I’d rather take the time to release something good and engaging, rather than releasing something half-baked and contrived right after I finish here. I think I’m close enough to have it ready sometime early in the week, though, so keep an eye out!
So, what could there possibly be to talk about right now if I’m not posting Part II? Well, I was watching a couple of YouTube reviews earlier and they got me thinking about the value of the voice. And that’s the voice in any medium, whether it be art, writing, filmmaking, reviewing, and so on.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I started this blog by posting some of my old book reviews from Goodreads on Blogger. I started out by writing them on Goodreads and just having them linked to my original site, so that way, even if it didn’t look like I was building my blog, I was actually creating its content library from day one. Now I no longer need that incentive to keep the blog going, because the content library has grown enough that it’s drive in and of itself to encourage me to do more. And I’ve also established something of a routine to post something at least once a month now.
Now, why do I mention all of this? Because, even if I didn’t fully realize it at the time, I was establishing my creative voice on this medium. When I moved over to WordPress, I had to trash the original format I’d used and I was still developing my review style (to this day I’m still tweaking it). I still need to work on reviewing other media forms besides books in particular, because I don’t know how to handle them in a way that doesn’t involve spoilers.
I’ve learned that establishing a creative voice requires a few essential things:
Passion. If you have no passion for what you do, your heart won’t be in it and it may take you longer to complete a task because you’d rather do something else. It can also impact how well the task is done, and how much effort is put into it. The more passion, the more effort, which leads to a better end result.
Personality. After working on something over a certain length of time, this generally starts to seep into your work without you noticing it. I didn’t notice how I was establishing who I was until I really started to be consistent with maintaining The Writer’s Library. If you don’t care about what you’re saying and have no passion for it, why should your audience care?
Planning and Revision. Nothing’s ever perfect on the first try, and pumping out material too quickly without putting any serious thought into it can lead to a lot of content with little to no substance behind it. This can also go into establishing a personality. When you write something down on paper for the first time, you have a chance to look at it and see if it’s really what you’re trying to say. But if you don’t care, you’re less likely to look it over and see if there are mistakes or your message isn’t getting across in a clear and fun manner.
The Ability to take Advice and Constructive Criticism. I admit, I still struggle with this one daily. Criticism is very easy to take personally and the anonymity of the internet can often lead to some criticism that isn’t constructive. However, if someone offers a suggestion for making the work better (i.e. I received some constructive criticism after I wrote a review on Goodreads) you have to be willing to (at the very least) consider what they’re saying and why it’s being said. This will drive you to improve your craft and, ultimately, polish your creative persona.
Find your Niche. Like I said, I started out with book reviews. For a long time this was a literature-and-creative-writing blog only. I didn’t really branch out into other mediums until recently, and even then I don’t do it very often. This is because I started with something that was comfortable for me and, as time went on, I started to want to branch out a little more. I created some videos, I reviewed albums and musical projects, I started talking about some television shows I’ve enjoyed, and so on.
I think the biggest thing to take from this is that the creative voice takes time to establish. And even when you have established a voice, it may take time before people hear you. So, before you create for anyone else, you have to create for yourself. Otherwise, everything I just listed will fall apart. That being said, it’s also important to keep trying to establish that voice. Yeah, it takes time, but the end result of seeing what you’ve done is a reward in and of itself.
Bottom line, establishing the creative voice is like building a house. It takes time and effort, but that time and effort fueled by passion will always lead to an amazing finished product.