It’s easy to get distracted by all sorts of things as a writer, especially after you share your writing with others. But once you take a breath and center yourself, you’ll see that there are certain things you should care about as a writer… and certain things that you should not. Some things are just more important than others, and it’s important to weed out those things that aren’t.
Maintaining an Authentic Voice
At the end of the day, whether or not you’re proud of what you write will hinge on whether what you write authentically represents who you are, what you think, and what you feel when you write it. Your writing might evolve a bit the more you fine-tune your writing skills over the years, but it’s highly unlikely your core personality and authentic writing voice will change. The truth is, you will write a ton of things that others are writing about too, always. Because reading begets writing about similar topics. But it’s your authentic writing voice that will make what you’re writing your writing and no one else’s–it’s what will make you stand out in the crowd of writers writing about similar topics. And is also what will attract the readers who want to read what you’re writing.
Maintaining an authentic voice in your writing isn’t as hard as it seems. Simply be honest. And be true to yourself when you write, even when you’re writing fiction. Don’t use clichés, focus on trends, or write about topics you don’t care about. Essentially, don’t be inauthentic when you write. For instance, if you decide to write about vampires because vampires are trendy, but you don’t actually care about writing about vampires, that lack of authenticity will inevitably show through in your writing and will turn readers off. And it will also make your writing less engaging than it could be if you were to write about something you do care about. Likewise, if you love trees and learning about trees (a topic that may not be as trendy), your authentic interest in that topic will likely make your writing much more interesting.
Pay attention to constructive criticism you receive, especially if you’re a novice writer. Constructive criticism is criticism that will help you be a better and more authentic writer– it will always pull you toward being the best writer you can be. And when you’re pulled toward being your best, you’ll stay motivated to write long-term, and your confidence as a writer will keep growing. You may not like a lot of the constructive criticism you receive. In fact, you’ll probably cringe at a lot of it, especially when you first start writing. However, try to remain objective when you hear such criticism and focus on what you can do to improve your writing.
Constructive criticism is aimed at improving your writing. It is not aimed at you, personally, and you should never feel personally attacked when you receive it. It also isn’t a bash fest of everything you’re doing wrong. Constructive criticism will always be actionable, clear, and beneficial to you as a writer. It does not focus solely on the negative aspects of your writing either. Most of the constructive criticism you receive will and should be from fellow writers and editors who want you and your writing to succeed. They won’t tear you or your work down. They will offer insight into how you can improve upon your writing instead. Essentially, it’s important not to care too much about negative comments and feedback that won’t be beneficial to you or your writing.
I could probably add more to this post. But ultimately, I believe what you should care about as a writer is simple. You should care about fine-tuning your own authentic writing voice and any constructive criticism that will help you achieve and maintain that. Anything else is probably nothing worth caring about and will likely only distract you and stress you out.
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