I was blessed at an early age to have received encouragement from some great teachers in and out of school. My English teachers in high school (Jack McNaughton, Mal Mackey, Ron Schmidt, Linda Spinelli) helped me to cultivate imagination and instilled in me a desire to seek freedom through putting words on paper.
Concurrently, a family friend, Richard King, would read my stuff and compare my work to Rod Serling. Richard was a professional songwriter with some serious chops, so I took him seriously – and was thrilled by the comparison.
I wanted to be the next Stephen King.
So I spent the next ten years writing bad horror. Short stories and a couple of novels. I collected rejection slips and shared complaints with writer friends about how editors worldwide needed to visit their local optometrists because they seriously lacked vision.
Then I began a long journey of writing ad copy, marketing communications, magazine articles, newspaper columns – business writing paid the bills. I also dabbled with different styles. During my late 20’s and 30’s I read a lot of Ernest Effing Hemingway, Jack Kerouac and William Gibson. My writing improved, but still wasn’t where I wanted it. Something was missing.
More years passed and, while in the process of learning about ADD, something clicked. I began writing differently. I went deeper into my soul. I actually thought what I was writing – whatever it was – was beginning to read differently.
I’d found my voice.
The first half of my writing life I spent imitating those writers I read and admired. In the tradition of master-apprentice I copied what they did, applied their techniques and styles, and created imitations of their work. When I finally let them go I discovered that hidden beneath their technique was a clear and persistent voice that belonged only to me.
It wasn’t conscious. It simply was.
The more I wrote, the more pronounced it became. Freedom was at-hand.
There is something bold and liberating about sliding into your authenticity as a writer or whatever kind of Creative Type you may be. Just let it go and the flow will find you.
Let it go and Be Bold. No matter what, your authentic voice is what’s important. Look for it. Care for it. Give it free reign. There is nothing more satisfying.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to my teachers for giving me such freedom at an early age. They helped me to stretch and explore, and then guided me in helping me give my chaos form. That’s the essence of the creative process.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my teachers these past few weeks. Just want to give credit to Jack, Mal, Ron and Linda. They helped me set sail on a lifelong quest to give expression to my soul, and not be fearful of spilling blood on the page.