I started writing when I was about 12 or 13. I remember sitting the jump seat of my folks' Datsun king cab pick up and scribbling away while we navigated across southern California looking for the perfect rattan furniture. As I passed from high school to college, I kept writing, all of it terrible and pointless.
Or so I thought.
I took a hiatus from reading and writing romance. It lasted about, hmmm, ten years. I was too busy working, dating, partying with my friends, living the life of a 20 something in L.A. Wish I could remember it ;). Anyway, after my second child, I got the urge to write again and dove back in with true commitment. My first endeavor was pretty crappy, but it was a complete ms. As bad as it was, I was told by kind and gentle contest judges I had a "lively" voice. I had no idea what that means (I still don't) and it took me awhile to see my "voice." So where is this leading?
About a week or so ago I was doing some filing in my writing file box when I ran into the last WIP I worked on back in my early 20's. The ink is faded and the perforation separating each page is falling apart. Streamers of paper hang from it because it was a dot matrix document and it ran through a roller. But for a hoot I picked it up and started reading. Whoa! I found narrative using the exact same language as what I use now. The structure was the same, the "voice" of the story was easily identifiable as my own.
It was a humbling and exciting discovery. I think as writers we really worry about our voice and finding it. But sometimes, I think, it is there, we just don't see it. It's comforting for me to know I have a voice and it can be "seen" by a reader. It gives me one less thing to worry about in my writing. I recommend to any writer struggling with the concept of voice to go ahead and read through old material, even if it reeks beyond all imagination. You may not be able to put a description to it, but it is probably there. And it will remind you how truly valuable those first attempts are and how nothing is ever pointless when you are writing.
And now for the IMPORTANT stuff...
BEAUTY AND THE GEEK last night was awesome. Talk about a train wreck. I loved it. Chuck and Rich were at there most obnoxious and Scarlet....wow, that's one feisty beer spokesmodel. Cannot wait for the big finale next week.