Define Yourself :: Enjoy your Chocolate Milk

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You stand on the battle field, the lone writer, a pen your sword and a rough draft of your current up and coming novel your shield. Around you are littered the bodies of lesser craftsmen, those who could not rise to the occasion, and are dead and forgotten because of it. But you have come, you have fought the good fight, and your pen is red with the ink of fallen manuscripts, and short bits of boring poetry that didn’t (or did, in an ironic way,) make the cut.

Before you is a hulking mass of metal, black as coal at midnight, heaving racking breaths through the metal mask welded to its helmet. It is armored with all the things you, as a writer, fear most. Writer’s block his chest plate, the words really, just, and very woven into a hideous cloak at his back, and pure grammatical errors comprising his blade. The tip rises slowly to eye level. From within the darkness at its core comes an ancient voice, worn with shouting. Your knees shake at the final challenge.

Define yourself.

Its the greatest challenge a writer will face. Without knowing who you are, you will lack identity and voice, which are critical in any writing. Problem is, I keep channeling Morgan Freeman, and sometimes Benjamin Franklin, if I’m lucky. And Cookie Monster, once or twice. That was pretty weird.

We have a habit of emulating those we make company with. OR watch on TV, or read the books of, or hear on the radio. If you surround yourself by great people, you are more likely to be great, yourself. The problem is, our dopey human brains sometimes mistake us for these people. We don’t like who we are, or are becoming, and so choose to be someone else. Someone we like better.

But you aren’t made to be somebody else. Save that for Halloween. Pretend to be somebody that you are not, talk with a weird voice, and wear clothes that don’t fit. People will laugh at your funny mask. Is that how you want to live? You fit best in your own skin. Pretending is for weird holidays. Eat some candy, have a joke at your dentist’s expense, and then change back into your comfy jeans, and scuffed sneakers.

Your writing is the best you can make because its yours. There’s no point in pretending that your chocolate milk is your friends Diet Coke – you can only make it look similar, at best(/worst) – but the taste doesn’t change. Commit to the chocolate milk, and you’ll enjoy it more. You might even have the chance to perfect it.

This is my point, then, you wordsmiths: Know who you are, so that your writing will have a point. Until the next…

Who’s mask are you wearing?


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