Writing authentically; embracing my voice

by Lee Anne Johnston

Image: imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have a fairly strong personality and I am a craven people pleaser. To my dismay, sometimes people react very strongly against me – I seem to be able to irritate some folks easily and often unwittingly.

So when it comes to writing, I am happy to write authentically. I’ve kept a diary since I was a young girl, and sometimes in my more polished writing, my personal self pokes through, rough edges and all. It’s the sharing of my work that I find incredibly daunting. When I read a personal piece, I feel like I have no skin. But what is the point of writing if it is to be kept under lock and key?

I have not entirely resolved this conflict. I want to write honestly, and at times my feelings and experiences cannot be held back. I am not even certain that they should be denied as surely the writer herself is part of the product? The purpose of good writing is to forge an emotional connection with the reader. Yet at the same time I am not comfortable in vulnerability. One solution I have embraced is to embed some of my own personality, history and challenges into the heart of a character. If Sally James, a suspect in my murder mystery set in 1900 has an emotional outburst, perhaps the intimacy of her experience will not be traced to the writer? Just sayin’….

Lee Anne is a prose writer and has been a member of the CWC for two years. Her love of writing started when she learned to read as a young child. She holds a BA and an MA in English from the University of Toronto. One of Lee Anne’s current works in progress is a Victorian piece set in the City of Cambridge. It is chock full of drama, rich language and time period references. Lee Anne currently lives in Cambridge with her husband and daughter.

One response to “Writing authentically; embracing my voice

  1. becky alexander

    All very true, Lee Anne. How much of oneself shows up in our imagined characters is always up to the writer. Becky Alexander

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