Writing Outside the Box: Find Your Uniqueness
Let me share with all of you a comment I recently received on one of my other articles. This comment is from writer friend Will Starr, a wonderful writer who specializes in short stories, and in particular western short stories:
“My first love is the western story, but there's almost no market for that genre any longer, so I'm submitting work to sci-fi magazines. So far, no accepted work, but no rejections either. But no matter what happens, work on improving your skills, and keep on submitting. As you say, one success can open the door, and your submissions will be probably flagged after that and fast-tracked.”
Will give some good advice, to keep writing, to keep improving your skills, but it is the first part of his comment that I want to concentrate on today.
When I first read Will’s comment, I instantly thought of a television series that lasted all of one year but then became a cult classic. The series was called “Firefly,” and it was a sci-fi for sure, but it had a western theme. I’m not the biggest fan of sci fi, but I instantly fell in love with that television series because of its uniqueness. The acting was very good, there was humor throughout, and there was that angle…a western theme in a sci fi. How very cool!
So I was experiencing a high after reading Will’s comment, because I was reminded that giving up was not an option, but I was also reminded that uniqueness can succeed. Then I wondered to myself, because it’s just me and the chickens here today, why more writers don’t seek that unique style that could propel them to stardom.
So I went to my writer’s community, HubPages, in search of uniqueness.
There were a lot of recipes to read. Definitely a lot of travel articles, and how-to craft articles, and the top ten of this and the top ten of that, but uniqueness? It was in short supply that day, and quite frankly, every single day.
And would you like to know why that is?
Because it takes work to be unique in writing, or any of the Arts, of for that matter, just in life in general, and it not only takes work, but it also takes a willingness to suffer the slings and arrows of those who do not understand or cannot accept uniqueness.
I Get It…i Really Do
Most writers are on HP to make some supplemental income, and they can make that income by pouring out recipes and craft articles, and I understand, and I have nothing against that. Go for it, I say, and may the Force be with you.
The possibilities for an even greater payout are there, if you would only make the effort to be unique.
And that is what I don’t understand….why those who need supplemental income aren’t busting their butts to go for the gold.
I was thinking back the other day to the days when dime novels and pulp fiction were popular. Those particular genres burst onto the writing scene in the late 1880s, and by the 1940s, writers like John D. MacDonald and Upton Sinclair were pouring out 8,000 words per day on short novellas that were read by millions. During that time, they were developing their unique style of writing, and eventually that style, and voice, led to fame.
If it could happen then, it can happen today. My goodness, the advent of ebooks has opened up unlimited possibilities for short story and novella writers. Write a 100-page novella, sell it for ninety-nine cents, and move on the next one…but in order for those novellas to become popular, a writer must develop a unique voice and a unique approach.
I happen to think that Will Starr is an exceptional writer. His stories remind me of Louis L’Amour; he is that talented. And there are others on HubPages who are equally talented, and I would love to see them achieve the success that their talent deserves.
Find your uniqueness!
One of My Favorite Books of All-time
About twenty years ago I was into self-help books. I stumbled across a book by an author with a rather strange name….Og Mandino…and a book of his called “The Greatest Miracle in the World.”
I’m telling you, folks, it was a revelation for this writer.
There was nothing special about Mandino’s message. Heck, you can find that same message in the Bible, or any other self-help book you pick up…but…he told a story of a character, The Ragpicker, that was so unique that it was impossible to put the book down.
During his lifetime, Mandino sold fifty million books.
Find your uniqueness!
I can easily list twenty other authors who have found similar success following that simple principle…find your uniqueness!
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- William Holland | Helping Writers to Spread Their Wings and Fly
Tips and suggestions and discussions about writing
Do you feel you are unique as a writer?
The Search for Viral
That’s what all online writers dream of, right? Going viral! One day you write an article and in a week that article has been read by hundreds of thousands, and suddenly you can pay your mortgage that month….we all have that dream, don’t we?
But how do you do it? Is it by accident that some articles go viral while most languish in the junk heap of the online world? Is it by accident that some people regularly make thousands of dollars per month while most make fifty? I think not!
So, what do you have to do in order to pay your mortgage monthly? What does that look like for a writer of recipes? Travel articles? Craft articles? Heck, short story writers?
I don’t know!
I can hear the groans from here.
I don’t know. I only know that if you don’t find that uniqueness, you will forever be pounding out words for no one to read, and quite frankly, that doesn’t sound very fulfilling to me.
It seems to me that the key is to write your recipe articles in a way that has never been done before. The same for travel articles and all the other niches out there. Short story writers….develop a unique character…develop a unique style of writing…develop a unique genre by combining a couple established genres, like was done in Firefly….the key word in all those suggestions was “unique.”
And the Whining Continues
Don’t deny it. I can hear it. It’s too hard…why should I bother…it’s too much work….I have no idea how to even get started….what if I’m wasting my time…and on and on we go, the perpetual whine of the mediocre, brought to you in Dolby Sound.
So skip it! Write for HubPages, make your fifty bucks a month, and have a good life. I’ve given it my best shot. I’ve tried to shine the light of reason in your direction and you ain’t buying, so great! Have a good life and don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
But, for those of you who actually want more out of this writing path, I have only three words for you….
Find your uniqueness!
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”