We’ve kinda talked about this before when we discussed the dangers of being put into the Stereotypical Box. I’ve told you all time and time again how unique and special your writing is, but WHY? Why do I stress it so much? Maybe it’s because I struggle with this myself.
People always tell me “Oh, you’re a writer?! You’re so special!!!”
It gets a little frustrating sometimes and occasionally patronizing too. They never mean it that way, but when you hear it so many times… So my response is either “Thank you.” Or “Okay. How am I special?”
Unfortunately, due to me usually being unable to control my mouth, it’s usually the second response.
Ninety percent of the people will not have an answer. Ten percent will, but it’s usually something cliche like “Well, you’re you, and that makes you special!” Or “You’re a writer, and that’s a special thing!”
I used to disagree with that last cliche answer sooo strongly. And my answer, no matter what their response was (and it still is, usually), “Not really. It’s just… me.”
So. Let’s talk about uniqueness today, shall we?
There is nothing more unique than a mushroom.
Don’t click the exit button yet, please bear with me on this!
One of my family’s favorite things to do in the spring is going mushroom hunting out in the woods. We have a couple of special spots that we always go to, and when you take the the first step out of the car… it’s like coming home. My dad has hunted mushrooms for YEARS. Way before my brothers and I were around. Way before my mom, too. He always loved it, and still does. And even as small children, we loved it too. Micah (my middle brother) was always the best at it. Until I got old enough to actually get serious about it and do more than dance around poison ivy and accidentally step on the tiny mushrooms poking out of the ground.
Saturday, we did our last hunt of the year. We found a LOT, and for the first time ever, I found the most. Dad says it was because I got extra “hot” that day and I was on fire with finding them. It happens. But in my opinion… it was because I was able to fully embrace the beauty and enjoy what I was doing wholeheartedly! I started marveling at the uniqueness of each and every mushroom, and actually thinking about it. The best findings happen when you are diving deep into your own thoughts.
Whenever I can’t think of what to write for a blog, I always got to my dad. He’s my brainstorming partner. And he loves telling stories, so he’s one of my favorite people to go to for ideas. And this week he said “You write books about woods. You’re in the woods right now. Get inspired. Hey, I know! Write about the mushrooms.”
My first instinct was to say “But Dad, they aren’t going to care about hunting mushrooms and what I did on my days goofing off with my family.” Until… I started to see what he meant when he started staring at the last mushroom we found.
He just smiled and said, “Look how perfect. If there was EVER a picture perfect mushroom, this is it.” I leaned down to pick it and realized that he was exactly right, and not just on the topic of mushrooms. It was so unique, and just… Perfect. To the point of indescribable. That is the perfect way to describe the gift of a writer. You can’t describe it, it’s just there. Its perfectly imperfect, and that makes it unique and incredible.
Everyone has this instinct to create built inside of them. And the makeup of the instinct is ALWAYS different. No writer is the same. Like I said in “Stereotypical Box”, there isn’t a plot, storyline, or headline that hasn’t been used in the centuries of writers we have in our history. But it’s all about how you write it, what you change, and how you make it unique and YOURS that makes it special!
Everyone is unique, and has quirks. (I have a lot of quirks, as my best friends will tell you very plainly.)
No one is the same, and that’s what makes being a writer a unique gift. Because we are all different, yet all have the same drive towards the goal of helping our characters complete their journey. Your characters are unique. The way they talk is unique. Their journey is unique, because it’s different and it’s YOU writing it, no one else. It’s so special and it’s a beautiful process.
It’s okay to say, “It’s just me.” But never say it isn’t special or unique. Because if it is “just you”, then it is special. When you are looking at your writing, your uniqueness, your gift, don’t let it become so ordinary to you that it becomes underappreciated.
Your gift is like a handprint. Its unique to you, only you have that specific handprint, and it’s unexplainably, beautifully, imperfectly perfect. In a way, like a mushroom.
You gotta embrace the quirks of being a writer.
It really is special.