I am up to my ears in writing advice. I get it from family, friends, strangers, books, and the internet. I’ve recently discovered that the books I like the most are the ones in which the author thinks outside the box. Like “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold, for example. In that book, we have a dead narrator. Isn’t that concept awesome? I think so. Ghosts have stories to tell too. Why else would they be sticking around?
I know writing. It’s what I’ve done for the last 23 years. It helps define who I am. Because of my speech impairment, I can’t verbally communicate very well with the world at large. And because of this, I have found myself in words, through writing. In a way, you might say that my speech impairment is a blessing in disguise. Because of it, I am forced to write everything down. Maybe “forced” is too strong a word, but you know what I mean. What other choice do I have? To not write and be misunderstood? No.
The advice “write what you know” has always stifled me… For much of my childhood, I didn’t understand why I was the way I was. I was so lost and confused. I played with “normal” characters in my writing, because that was how I saw myself. Most of the characters I created back then were orphans, because I identified with them the most in the books I read. Mary Lennox from “The Secret Garden.” “A Little Princess.” “Anne of Green Gables.” I loved these books and read them over and over. I think I over-identified with them. My parents were alive and well, but something else was missing from my life. And it is only when I grew up that I realized that what was missing all those years was me.
I was so consumed with what was wrong with me that I didn’t stop to figure out what was right. I have a strong mind. I have a heart that is brave and kind. Most of the time. 🙂 My body is just bones and flesh. It’s not forever. Like that LeAnn Rimes’ song says, “I’m only human, but you’ve got hero’s face…” One guess who the “you” is.
My writing advice to you: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. One of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, found immense success doing just that. I wish someone would have told me this when I was 7 years old and beginning to discover this HUGE and often OVERWHELMING gift I’ve been given.