I've been having a hard time with my writing lately. I'll start something and abandon it because it doesn't feel authentic. I can't find a voice or theme that feels like it's really coming from me. Any thoughts on how I can overcome this?
Well there are two questions here—first there’s one about abandoning your stories. There are a couple of topics about finishing stories on the Advice Tags page, so check those out.
In terms of finding your voice, my first suggestion would be: Don’t over think it. If you’re stumbling through your writing thinking “Would this character say this? Should I put this word here?” it’s going to feel awkward and stunted. To write in a voice that isn’t your own, I think you really have to “get into character” by doing a lot of research and practice beforehand. But hold off on that for now and try a couple of these things:
First, I’d do some stream of consciousness writing. A website that really helps me with this when I’m REALLY writers-blocked and absolutely have to write something for a deadline is 750words.com. Because you have to get to 750 words to be done, you can’t abandon it, and it has all these cool little benchmark goal features that are also encouraging. I usually go on there and either just write about my day, what’s on my mind, or something like, “I want to write this story about a girl who’s walking through the forest and suddenly she sees a bear, but I can’t decide whether the bear is going to chase her in the first scene or in a later scene, because…”. That really helps me get the words flowing, and then I can talk myself through the problems that I’m having with getting a story out.
I’d also suggest writing some stories in the first person—the length doesn’t matter—about a character pretty similar to who you are as a person. That way, you’ll be forced to write in your own unique voice, because you’ll basically be writing about you!
I think both of the above steps should help get your unique-voice gears turning so that you can move forward. If those don’t work or you need more advice or I misinterpreted what you were trying to ask me (haha, highly possible), you know where to find me!
And as always, anyone with anything to add can send an ask.