Thursday, December 22, 2016

Creative Nonfiction: How to Maintain Your Writing Voice in an Oversaturated World

I can almost guarantee that there are a lot of things competing for your time and energy right now. 

The news, the lure of social media info dump, blogs to keep up with, craft books to read, podcasts (and Netflix) lining up in your queue, the comp titles in your TBR pile, and -- oh yeah! -- all the people you deal with in real life. Almost forgot about them :)

Whatever real-life factors are vying for your attention, it can be hard to clear the space when we sit down to do our work, to tell our stories.

The other week, I was listening to Ann Kroeker's Writing Coach podcast. They're only around five minutes long, little nuggets of wisdom and perspective for writers. In that episode, she talked about memoir writing as a form of creative nonfiction. We come across so many true and made-up stories in  between the time we save our latest work and the time we return to our keyboards. I truly believe this practice can make all the difference in maintaining our voice and inspiration for our own work.

What is creative nonfiction? It's the practice of remembering, Ann Kroeker says. Different than journaling, which tends to have more of an unfiltered, emotional focus, this style of writing helps us draw out the details from our memories. It does so by removing the pressures of writing for an audience, the unspoken need to filter our thoughts and memories according to marketing strategy, and the influence of buzz topics that often affect what we decide to write -- even if we don't realize it.

Because this kind of creative nonfiction is only for ourselves. 

What are the benefits?

  • It weeds everything else out except for what's meaningful to us personally and therefore helps us remember who we are at our very core without all of the competing information.
  • It exercises our brain-to-words connection, which can help make the creative writing process more powerful and efficient.
  • It can inspire original writing topics and story ideas from a more authentic place.
  • It refines the voice that makes us unique as an author. 
I encourage you to make some downtime in the midst of this crazy season to open a blank notebook and write about your most important memories. Things from your past that have defined who you are and the memories you're creating today. Write down the details you remember as if you're painting a picture in a novel. And please report back what this does for your fiction.

What else are you doing to protect your writing inspiration?


Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author and cheerleader for creatives. She believes that God's love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. 

Previously a full-time book publicist, Laurie now serves as a virtual assistant and runs a freelance editing and PR consulting business called 1624 Communications

She lives with her husband and two small children in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they are eagerly awaiting the release of her debut contemporary romance novel in May 2017 from Harlequin Heartwarming.

You can connect with Laurie on her website, Facebook page, and Twitter


Ann Kroeker said...

I'm so glad this inspired you to share more with your readers--the four bullet points are especially excellent!

Unknown said...

This is so cool, Laurie! Going to have to try it out this break.

Pepper Basham said...

This was such a great post and a WONDERFUL reminder!!! I need to journal more because I find some of the most amazing 'nuggets' for memory in those pages to tie between novels.

Great reminders!