Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Find Your Audience Your Way #IWSG



Happy New Year, Insecure Writers! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. If you want to join this amazing group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, click here.

First, a fun bit of news. My cover for The Boy Who Loved Fire (designed by J. Allen Fielder) made the Top 19 list over at WriteKidsBooks.org. Check out the link here.

Now, on with the regular post...

Our church had a special guest this Christmas--Colton Dixon. If you watch American Idol, you'll likely be familiar with him. He came in 7th in season eleven.

On Christmas Eve, my sons and I went to church and were blessed enough to watch this young man perform. And while I was wowed by his music and his message, I was also wowed by his journey.

You see, his American Idol dreams didn't come true. He didn't even hit the top three. But what impresses me about Colton Dixon is that he stayed true to himself and his art. His mohawk-skinny jeans-rocker style and meaningful messages have catapulted him to the top of the Christian music charts. He didn't shy away from his faith--he embraced it--and found his audience his way.

His story reminded me how important it is to:
  1. Embrace opportunities
  2. Write what's uniquely ours
  3. Follow our own paths
Given the same writing prompt, ten thousand writers would write ten thousand different stories. That's really cool. So while I love the work of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah, I can't write like them or torture myself by trying to mimic their paths. I've learned this important lesson--peace comes from writing what's in your heart and enjoying your own unique journey.

Have you heard of Colton Dixon? Do you struggle with writing what's uniquely yours? Do you try to mimic the paths of other writers? How has that affected your mood and style? Please share!

If you haven't heard him yet, here's Colton Dixon singing his latest release, "More of You."


39 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the cover award, Julie! Writing something unique got me dropped by my publisher (Midnight Ink...octogenarian sleuth and no series hook like a craft, food, etc.), but continuing that series as self-pub has been very profitable for me! So I agree...let's go our own way.

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    1. Thanks so much, Elizabeth!

      You've blown me away with your publishing path. You just get out there and go for it, and share what you've learned with the rest of us. I totally appreciate and respect that!

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  2. Congratulations your cover did so well!
    That's awesome Dixon has stayed true to his Christian beliefs, especially in a time when it's not popular. I intend to stay true to mine no matter what.

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    1. Alex, you and me both. There's a line in his song that speaks to that...sort of like what good is the rest of it if you lose your soul?

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  3. Happy New Year, Julie! And congrats on your cover award. Yes, it's so important for us all to follow our own paths, whatever they are, not the path of others.

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    1. Natalie, it's all about attitude and frame of mind. It's easy to get caught up in the comparison game. I get caught up in it myself!

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  4. I am a huge American Idol fan and yes, I remember Colton. Good for him for staying true to who he is. It is so true, what you write here, Julie. We must all follow our own hearts. Happy New Year!

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    1. Karen, I'm still an AI fan after all these years. I especially like the current judges. Happy new year to you, too!

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  5. Congrats on your cover award. I think I got sick of American Idol after season 5, lol, and haven't watched it since. I've always tried to have my own voice when it comes to writing. What's the point of just trying to mimic other writers? You have to be true to yourself.

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    1. Sarah, you're so right. I like the idea that only I can write my stories my way. You can only write your stories your way. It's a beautiful thing once we truly appreciate that.

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  6. Much needed post for me today! Everytime I start a new book, I read more and then I find myself wishing I could write like some of my favorites--not like me!

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    1. Terri, I kind of feel that way after I read certain authors...like Picoult and Hannah. Their books make me think and make me cry. I am most definitely not them, but I'd like to think their influences seep into my own work. I have a feeling the words of your favorite authors seep into your work as well!

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  7. Love your posts, Julie. I feel inspired. I get down on myself as a writer way too often. But I have to remind myself that we are all unique and on our own paths, and that God is in control. I need to trust him that he is leading me where he wants me to go, which may not always be where I want to go.

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    1. Laurisa, my son and I were just having this conversation recently. We get plans stacked up in our mind, but sometimes God has other plans for us! You're wonderful. Keep doing what you're doing.

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  8. Being true to oneself is so important. I was rejected by a publisher who wanted my fantasy to be darker and I just can't write that way.

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    1. Susan, good for you for doing things YOUR way!

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  9. I've always been different from the others, so it wouldn't even cross my mind to copy another writer or write to trends. Although in my mid-teens, it was obvious I was copying some of the language and turns of phrase in some of the books I was reading. Serious, adult books, not modern books or books for young people, since I was that teenager who didn't have typical teen interests.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I swear, I was the same way! Instead of reading teen books I was reading Danielle Steele romances. It's great that it doesn't even cross your mind to be like another writer.

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  10. Embrace opportunities
    Write what's uniquely ours
    Follow our own paths

    A great recipe for an honest and wonderful life! Congrats on the cover awards.

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    1. Dean, I'm proud of how you're following your own unique path as well! Pat yourself on the back for that!

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  11. I haven't heard of him, but I've experienced similar performances. It's amazing to hear people's stories--the struggles behind the success. We all have an epic journey to take, eh? We just have to figure out how we're getting there.

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    1. Crystal, those epic battles on the way to success must've made it that much sweeter for this guy. I love that! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

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  12. You have to write your own way. For better or worse, it's the only way that will ever work. Good luck.

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    1. Ken, so true! How boring it would be if all writers were the same and took the same path. And I love how we have so many options these days. It's awesome.

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  13. Love it! You're so right and it strengthens my heart to hear it.

    Now to check out Mr. Dixon!

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    1. Elizabeth, I absolutely love his music AND the message! I hope you do too.

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  14. I've fallen into the "what's the right way to do this" mentality at times, and forget that there isn't a right way. Besides, it isn't as if everybody else has this all figured out either. :)

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    1. Oh my gosh, you are so right! Even the "experts" are still figuring it all out. And things are changing by the minute.

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  15. Congrats on the award! And I love that story. As someone religious myself, I think God leads us where we need to be--if we let him.

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    1. Rosalyn, "if we let him" is the key, right? So often I try to do things MY way, when I just need to listen and be led.

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  16. Congratulations on your cover! I haven't heard of him, but I don't watch American Idol. Still, his message is a good one. Thank you for passing it along. And, no, I don't try to copy anyone else's style. I'm sure there are several who subconsciously inform my writing, but I hope it's all mine in the end.

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    1. Shannon, I think that's what happens with me. I may not try to mimic someone else, but their style definitely influences my own writing. Just like our favorite authors were likely influenced by their favorites!

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  17. Sounds like a real treat! I used to watch the auditions part of AI because I loved the part where people achieved their dreams. So inspiring! They don't stream the show online, though, so they've lost me. I watch the auditions part of The Voice now, since it's on Hulu Plus--same inspiring message, but I always get bored when it gets past the auditions phase.

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    1. Stephanie, AI just started a couple of nights ago, and I still enjoy it. Especially the awkward and awesome auditions!

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  18. I haven't heard of Colton Dixon, but that's because I stopped watching American Idol a long time ago.

    It's true that what's right for one person isn't right for another. We all have different paths and different talents. And I like that. :)

    Congratulations on your cover!

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    1. Chrys, AI is like one of those things I say I'm not going to watch but I do. Same with The Bachelor. I'm such a sucker!

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  19. Great post. To thy ownself be true!

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  20. Wonderful to hear about your award. That's always such a boosts and a great way to start 2015!

    Being yourself is the best option in the world.

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