Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Speak!

42 Comments

puppyIt is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt. – Abraham Lincoln

Recently during a round of golf, my shot off the tee made an errant hook out of bounds. As I walked to the fence where my ball had landed, a Bichon Frise ripped through its doggy door and raced toward me. He reached the fence, looked at me and began to bark. At least, he was trying to bark. His mouth was moving but there was no sound.

“He doesn’t have a voice.” My playing partner yelled from across the fairway.

As I watched the little guy’s desperate attempt to protect his master’s property, I was reminded of the first contest I entered several years ago. I received an acknowledgment of my entry in the mail and the recipient had written, “You have a very unique writing voice.” At the time, I had no idea what that meant. What did my voice have to do with my writing? Was “unique” a bad thing in the writing world?

I never knew why the dog had no voice, but three years later, I’ve learned there’s no magic blueprint to create my writing voice. I already have one, just like I already have a speaking voice.  Sure, I could imitate voices of famous authors, but it wouldn’t be mine. I am who I am and I write the way I write.

In order to learn from other writers, I subscribe to many blogs. I can read a post without looking at the name of the blog and know who wrote it. They each have their own style,  they’re not a bunch of parrots imitating other blogs. They’re all unique and that’s what makes them fun to follow and read the comments.

I still think about that voiceless dog and how hard he tried to speak. Like him, I have so much to say, but I struggle with how to say it. Rather than copying a voice, I want to be original, different from other writers. In order to do this, I need to keep writing and in doing so, my writing will evolve and my voice will emerge. If only finding my golf balls were that easy.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

42 thoughts on “Speak!

  1. This post is quite encouraging. We seem to enter into this craft carrying some sort of gem of pride because something has caused us to think we can do this thing – writing. Then we start to realize all the stuff we don’t know and we go about learning and all that is great. But, if we’re not careful we risk losing that special gem that we carried with us when we started. I would say that gem is our writing voice and you described so well in this post that we need to honour that voice and protect it. Thanks.

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  2. Jill, you are original! Your writing voice says a lot!

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  3. If a writer thinks too hard about how she is crafting her words so that she conforms to someone else’s notion of a good writing voice, her material will end up sounding like Nancy Drew prose. That is, smack in the middle of safely bland. Instead of being all things to all readers, write from the gut, and the people who like it will like it.

    Two of the things I like about your writing voice are your economy and your emphasis on the little moments that tell the real story.

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  4. Yes Jill we all have unique styles of writing. I love to read your posts since they reflect your own unique style which I think has an easy flow and spontaneity to it which I love. I think it is a great art of writing to be able to capture life’s precious moments in so few words and yet the description is so complete. One’s reading and also life’s experiences combine together to enrich our writing. I know you are an avid reader and that reflects in your writing. Great post,. Thanks for sharing with us. Take care.

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    • You are too sweet, Sabina. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to read my posts. And thank you for your wonderful blog which honors law enforcement….it’s one of a kind! Have a great weekend!

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      • Sorry for the late reply Jill. I feel elated with such nice words about my blog which is gaining momentum and it makes me feel very happy. I value your observation very much and I love your blog and posts very much. You too have a great weekend. take care.

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  5. Well said, Jill! It’s funny, because I’ve been thinking a lot about this very subject this past week. It’s not about creating a voice for ourselves, but letting our already-there-voice come through. We just need to break down the barriers to set it free (fear of ridicule, working on our craft so we choose the best words to match our voice, etc.).

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    • Thanks, Phillip! You’re so right, fear has been a huge barrier for me. I was nervous when I first started my blog. I still get a little anxious when I hit “Publish.” 🙂 Have a great weekend and good luck at the Farmer’s Market!

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  6. Poor little doggy! You are so right about this. It’s really about being ourselves and letting that shine through our writing. You have a great writing voice which makes me want to come back for more! 🙂

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    • Thank you Maria…oops…should I have said your name? 🙂 I know, I felt so sorry for him. You could tell he wanted to speak so bad. I love your voice, it shines like a beacon! Have a great weekend!

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  7. What a great way to describe a writer’s voice. And now that you mention it, I realize that the blogs I really love are those written by writers with strong and unique voices–like yours.

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  8. I can relate to what you’re saying, Jill. More than once I decided not to submit articles for publication because they just didn’t sound like me. I had written about information I thought I SHOULD convey but wasn’t particularly interested in conveying – and it showed in an informative but lackluster piece.

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  9. I agree, Shel. It can be difficult to convey information, hold the readers attention and still maintain your unique voice. Like you, I’ve dumped stories that fit into the requested guidelines, but it just wasn’t me. No one ever said this was going to be easy, but it is fun. Enjoy your weekend!

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  10. Pingback: Don’t Write Boring | ericjohnbaker

  11. As always, I enjoy reading your posts. Now, you have me thinking of my writing voice. I haven’t given it any thought.

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  12. The writing ‘voice’ is really important, Jill. Like you, I love it when I read a blog post and know who is ‘speaking’ as soon as I start. We’re all different and that makes the world a very interesting place indeed 😉

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  13. Every week you come up with great ideas for posts. That contest recipient hit the nail on the head — you do have a unique writing voice, and it’s part of the reason I look forward to reading your blog. Voice is what makes a writer’s writing her own; that’s why we have favorite authors. You’re certainly one of mine. xo

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  14. Wow, your comment certainly brightened my day, Gwen. Thank you so much. I struggle daily with self-doubt when it comes to my writing, but comments like yours ease the doubt…at least for the moment. 🙂

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  15. Love this post. It really hit home for me, as I often disparage my own writing voice and jealously wish I had what others have. But, as you mention in your post, the thing is to realize we are all unique … we all have wonderfully different ways of looking at the world … and our voices all create a beautiful chorus. Hopefully, as time moves along, I will become more comfortable with and appreciative of my own voice.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Voice is something every writer struggles with primarily because we tend to compare our voice to others. I believe when we embrace our own uniqueness, the words will flow more freely.

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  16. It’s interesting that you didn’t know you had a “voice” when you began writing. I’m following you because I am working on becoming a regular writer – not so much because I have aspirations to be a professional writer; I just strongly believe in the importance of writing to help one learn about him/herself and the world at large. Thanks for going public with your journey.

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  17. I have nominated you for the most influential blogger award Jill. Please click on the link below for more information. Please accept and oblige. (There are no rules for you, I know you are so busy.)

    http://saminaiqbal27.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/most-influential-blogger-award/

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    • I’m sending you a cyber hug, Samina! Thank you for the nomination, I’m honored. I appreciate the “no rules.” 🙂 Congratulations on your award! Your blog provides us with an important message in every post.

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      • Thank you so much for the cyber hug, what a beautiful gesture. You are most welcome Jill. I am very pleased that I have nominated you, you deserve it more than anyone else. Take care.

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  18. Hi Jill,

    Thought I’d pop over to your blog and say hello, and my timing is going to demonstrate (though only coincidentally) that blog posts with animal photos attract more comments (a tidbit I picked up at a recent conference).

    Both the photo and the quote (a personal favorite) in your post made me laugh.

    I once heard Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes, speak about just the topic you’ve focused on this time around – finding your voice. He talked about how many revisions he made to his story of growing up in Ireland, and how many rejection notices he received before finding his voice for this particular story. In the end, he adopted a voice not of the older man who had lived through some trials and tribulations, but rather that of the young child coming to terms with a difficult set of circumstances at the same time he was coming of age and understanding himself and the world.

    Lastly, congratulations on being selected as a finalist in the Southern Writers Magazine Fiction Short Story Contest.

    Have yourself a sweet day,
    Anne

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    • Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment on my post, Anne. I appreciate your sharing Frank McCourt’s story ~ very interesting. As for the animal photo…who could resist such a cute little face! Have a wonderful day, Anne.

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  19. Found you through Eric’s link to you. A golfer and a writer. I like you already! Just had my first two rounds of the season this week. They were terrible. Thankfully I golf for fun and no other reason. Great post.

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    • Thank you, Shannon! Eric is great, isn’t he? Can you imagine him playing golf? 🙂 I golf for fun and when I need a good laugh. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Have a great day!

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  20. Aw that poor dog. I understand how frustrating finding your voice is. It’s one of those hard to explain but you know it when you see it things. 🙂

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