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about a writer’s influence⁣

2 min read

Dear Reader, other writers’ influence. How does it work inside the brain?

We talked about reading like a writer before, remember? Active reading, making questions about stories and ideas, making notes of everything you can “steal like an artist,” including linguistics and writing devices that an author used to amplify their VOICE and convey a message, provoke thoughts, elicit feelings, or somehow shake their readers’ brain.

When we read books WHILE we’re writing, there’s always this annoying chance that by hearing other writers’ voices, you end up muting your own or copying them without realizing it.

Many writers believe that this INTRUSIVE VOICE can get in the way of your own way to express or even influence the way you THINK and TALK about the topics you’re writing. So, for that reason, some choose not to read while they’re writing, some work hard not to let this intrusion happen, and some do it on purpose.

Yes, some writers find stories and elements that work and sell, and they reuse structures, symbols, archetypes, and even words to make their own stories work and sell too. You can find this pattern everywhere, in books, essays, movies, or even content shared on the internet.

So, where’s the off switch? How can you drink the water of other writers and stay original and keep your voice intact? How not to fall into the trap of just echoing other writers’ voices?

→ THINK CRITICALLY, BE COHERENT, KNOW YOUR VOICE.

After reading something, take some time before you go writing, let your brain digest what you’ve read, and pounder what YOU believe and how YOUR voice would sound.

Fuck what sells. Write with your voice, then read it out loud again, asking yourself: does it sound like me? Does it make my point? Does it look like MY words? Is it coherent? Am I happy with the effect of my words on my reader’s brain? Or am I just being influenced by what I’ve read without using my brain?

Best,

João

■ PS: Do you believe that’s true? That the books you read can influence your mood and tone? Have you ever felt sad for days after reading a sad story? Has other people’s words ever influenced the way you write?

☕️ first seen on @beardbetweenthelines ↓

2 Comments

  • WithloveMasi

    I become inspired when I read my favorite authors, such as Murakami. Or when I read a good article or essay, or even a poem. But I think getting inspired to write about something, and write exactly as they do is a big difference. There are a lot of things that inspire me too, I can say music, paintings, illustrations, stars, animals… The list is long. This topic you brought to discussion is very important. I also think that, while you write and these people influence your mind, you should always stick to your own voice, if not, then you’re just “copypasting” 😅

    • João

      Exactly! There’s absolutely no problem in finding references and influences of good things, but when you stop being yourself you’re just coping and pasting, like you said. 👊🏻

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