Humour: How Unique, Do You Think, Your Writing Voice Is?
Creativity walks hand in hand with insecurity. Artists are hypersensitive and they constantly need reassurance and tender loving care. Urgh! Such a cliché! But it’s true. We, as writers are extremely vulnerable and no matter how accomplished we are (if we are accomplished at all), we always wonder whether we are good or bad or whether our latest work (piece, article, hub) is good.
I dreamed a dream
I dreamed a dream
Once I had a dream and I woke up in cold sweat. I dreamt of reading my own article and finding it absolutely unreadable. How could I expect others to read what I write when even I can barely suffer through it myself? The worst part, of course, was that that piece of writing was not a figment of my imagination. It was a real article, in fact one of my SIGNATURE articles - “Creating a Vision – It’s All in Your Head”. It is only moderately crazy, so it is only partially readable, partially unreadable. In short, not quite a complete horror. And it gathered wonderfully amazing comments and it is doing quite well on HP (unlike my other work that is quietly sliding into oblivion). [Hint: notice the horror part]
I found an excellent way to feel better about myself. I promise that it’s going to work for you as well. And no, I am not talking about Hub Pages, even though Hub Pages is an excellent place to raise your self-esteem, if only as a writer.
Oh, yeah? Prove it!
Patience, my dear friends, patience.
I can only assume that the mysteriously magnetic force that brought you to HubPages in the first place was the promise that you can write and earn money (no experience necessary, no harsh requirements to meet, no competition to win. Just join, write and earn … easy as 1-2-3). Joining is easy, I won’t argue, writing requires expanding some effort and energy, but it is still doable, but earning money by writing is not within reach for most of us. Your competition is the whole world of professionals and it is strong and powerful, committed and knowledgeable and has too many other advantages. Oh, the world of winners!
If you get enough traffic (congratulations!) and you earn some (good!) money, the more the better, this fact alone is very reassuring. Being a good writer and your ability to monetize your writing efforts are not necessarily interconnected and as long as you make income, who cares what kind of writer you are? It was not your goal in the first place. Of course, some people are both; they are good writers who make good money. Good for them, but they are minority. Let’s not kid ourselves.
The scale of exaggeration
For the rest of us, unfortunate souls, not so good writers after all or maybe those good writers who still cannot figure out how to monetize their wonderfulness, the biggest source of reassurance and sweetest boost to self-esteem comes from… right! … from HP community. All you have to do is write, then try to establish a circle of readers/friends and soon enough if you are a consistent and dedicated soul you invariably become a member of mutual admiration society of HP writers just like you. Or somewhat like you. The flattery is so sweet that is hard not to swallow. I am as guilty as charged.
- Am I a good writer?
- Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely.
- “Yes” is a comfort. “Absolutely” is not.
My friends always told me that I was powerfully unique, they told me so many times that I really believed in it. I felt into the trap of believing in my own amazing amazingness and wonderfulness. I thought that I have found my writing voice. It was captivating, enticing, moving, provoking, inspiring… and most importantly, unlike any other.
Notice the difference between “yes” and “absolutely”.
The sheer scale of exaggeration made me wonder… Compliments felt good, it was very much needed balm for my aching soul, but there was always a nagging suspicion that all of it simply cannot be true (it isn’t). As much as I wanted to believe it I could not. How could I not question the sincerity of others, if I did just the same? If I willingly engaged in dispensing flattery somewhat thicker than necessary? I don’t write constructive comments and if I slip I feel like “a weird minority of one”. If I slip I am promptly put back into my place. I write complimentary comments, the comments that should make the other person feel good. Sometimes I even wonder if the whole addiction to HubPages is the addiction to the Reassurance Club and Feel Good About Yourself Club. I think that is the whole point of the exercise – socialization, not exchanging ideas that are platitudes and have been exchanged so many times before.
But doubt is a creepy feeling. A shadow of a doubt, doubts, shadows creeping about the dark corners of a writer’s heart and soul..
What doubt?! It’s a fact that we are not literary giants. We are not a bunch of Dostoevsky, Dickens, …, Nabokov, Tolstoy. But that’s just it.
We are not them. We are LIKE them.
Did anyone ever tell you that you look like just …well, for example, your father or your mother? Does it drive you insane? Well, because you know for a fact that you look nothing like them (especially if you do). Or maybe you do look alike, but you don’t want to resemble your parents. Forget your parents; you just don’t want to bear any resemblance to anyone. But that is impossible. You look like somebody else whether you are related or not. It’s just inevitable.
I do look like Karishma Kapoor. I have been told before and I just brushed it off. I thought I did not really look like her and if people want to see me in her and her in me, let them. I also look like my mother and I hate admitting it. I just simply hate it. Nothing to be done – we do look like…
There was one creepy story that happened to me. When I went to the University in Moscow, on the very first day, I met a girl that was in my group. I kept staring at her because her face looked familiar, in fact painfully familiar, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. You know the feeling, you know you’ve seen the person somewhere, but it just escapes you where exactly. Close, closer… warm, warmer…
For crying out loud, where have I seen that mug? It came to me, eventually. I see that mug every day! IN THE MIRROR!
The horror! The horror!
It was a strange phenomenon – none of our facial features were alike, but the overall impression… We looked so much alike that most people thought we were sisters and a few unfortunate souls even mixed us up together and then stopped talking to either of us out of embarrassment. I did not like the fact that we looked alike. Most people don’t.
We look alike, we write alike. No, we don’t!
Authors, writers want to have their own writing voice, powerfully unique or uniquely powerful. I thought I was unique until I came across a program that analyzed any text and told in what style it was written.
Can you imagine me singing in that voice?
It tells you that you write like…
Of course, I was curious. Wouldn't you be? I took a few paragraphs from my writing and held my breath…
I write like Kurt Vonnegut. That is interesting because I have never read him. What a shame!
Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.
It would be fine if I just wrote like Kurt Vonnegut, but it does not stop there. I write like a whole bunch of authors, not just authors, but the crème de la crème of the literary world.
For example, I write like Nabokov. How could I even imagine? But now, all false modesty aside, I would consider writing a novel – allusion “Humbertito”. Por que no?
I write like Oscar Wilde. I knew, I really felt that my love letter to my online friend was a masterpiece; the only missing piece was this confirmation, the attestation that I write like Oscar Wilde. “Aurea Mediocritas”, I called it. The letter was not about mediocrity. “Aurea Mediocritas” means “Golden Medium – the Center.” Applause, applause!
But let’s say you are not a genius like me. If you use this program, what would the result be?
I would not be surprised if you write like Mark Twain. Because I do.
The moment when I fell off my chair was when the program told me that I wrote like William Shakespeare. After I regained my consciousness, I thought that it all made perfect sense. My personality type is either Hamlet or Tom Sawyer. So, both authors are deep under my skin, I don’t even have to read them to imitate. It all happens naturally.
If you think that my literary gift is limited, think again. I write poetry. I wrote “Discovering My Blues” as Arthur Clarke would, I wrote down my preferences in the style of Anne Rice, whom I have never read and I wrote my best poem “Jumping into the erotic wave” under the influence (of a full bottle of red wine) just as Charles Dickens would have. I never realized that Charles Dickens wrote erotica, but I am becoming so light-headed with all the fame now that I cannot even say whether I read Charles Dickens at all. Maybe it is all in cosmic connections.
Nothing is original
I wanted to know how my fellow writers would do on the test. No surprises here, all my friends write like masters, too. Cory Doctorow, Chuck Palahniuk, Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming…
That is funny, but not specific. Specifically…
Writeronline came out to write like J.K. Rowling. She made a lot of money, he did not. I was curious enough as to analyze an article written by writeronline as a stream of consciousness. It had no punctuation and it was proclaimed as gibberish by one of the readers. To my greatest surprise and delight, writeronline later confirmed that it was not supposed to be anything but gibberish. Yet the program announced that this specific gibberish was written in a style of H.P. Lovecraft.
Who is this H.P. Lovecraft? I wonder because my writing is compared more often than I find it amusing to the style of H.P. Lovecraft.
Shall I be flattered or shall I be concerned? Who else is in my lovely terrifying family?
It turns out to be that besides writeronline and me (whom you might not know), Jim Jarmush and Niccolo Macchiavelli were also writing like H.P. Lovecraft, the most piquant detail, of course, that Machiavelli happened to write in H.P. Lovecraft’s style, when H.P. Lovecraft was not born yet. But it is such a minor detail!
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.”
― Jim Jarmusch
So which one of us is a good artist (writer)?.
Or a talented thief?
Are we authentic? Or pathentic?
The horror! The horror!
The Art of War, by Niccolo Machiavelli
Sometimes I feel like
Maybe Machiavelli was writing about declaring a war on inauthenticity. Who knows? I did not read him either.
So, H.P. Lovecraft
It’s all funny. Funny, ha-ha-ha, but not systematic. I am an analytical (no such word) creature and I have to say that I did not stop at one excerpt; statistically one is not a number. I would take an article and “analyze” its parts separately. I am quite a genius, I have to admit. I am quite a genius just like someone else but there is no program yet to tell me whom my brilliance is akin to.
I took my moderately crazy, signature article “Creating a Vision – It’s All in Your Head” and that is what I got:
Creating a Vision - It's All In Your Head
- Creating a Vision - It's All In Your Head
Part of fundamentality is mentality. Three fundamental questions: philosophy, art and audience are discussed in light of why, what, how and whom for we write.
In one article I manage to write like:
One author that comes up more or less consistently is H.P. Lovecraft. I don’t know how I managed to be influenced by him if I have never read him or even heard of him. But I am flattered. Wouldn't you be?
H.P. Lovecraft came up four times and …the Oscar goes to … well, naturally. Funny enough, when I finished writing this satirical (for those who still in doubt!) piece, I put it in “I write like” program as well. Guess whose name came up? Right!
I looked him up – H.P. Lovecraft was a king of horror. He was weird. He was famous. At least I am consistent. Consistently crazy or consistently horrifying?
H.P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft … the Horror! The Horror!!! (“The horror!” theme is from Joseph Conrad “Heart of Darkness” if you did not know. Maybe you write just like Joseph Conrad? Don’t look down on me before you figure out shoes of which literary giant you are trying to fill).
I think like Gilbert O'Sullivan, naturally
I write like
- I Write Like
Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of ...
But now you, would you like to figure out how you write?
The name of the program: “I write like”. It is the first site that comes up on Google.
But I can guarantee you one thing – you will never ever get this answer:
The answer the program will never give you:
NOBODY WRITES LIKE YOU. YOU WRITE LIKE NOBODY ELSE.
And I wish I could play the French Horn just like ...
I no longer mind being or looking or writing like somebody else.
I wish I wrote music like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I wish I looked like…
I wish I could sing like Lara Fabian…
I wish I was rich like… (is there ever enough?)
I wish I simply could play piano well or had piano for that matter… like…
- Five Lovecraft movie adaptations that will make you feel deeply unloved | TechRepublic
All the trappings of classic Lovecraft are here: Old ladies turning into squid monsters, mindless hordes of mutant townsfolk, and even a parade of Great Old Ones shambling down a hallway straight outta The Wizard of Oz.
A film adaptation of Lovecraft's two novels
© 2013 kallini2010
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