The apartment complex where I live consists of several buildings. I live in one of the buildings closest to the street, and because of the apartment I live in, I have something unique right outside my bedroom window. The only tree that grows directly on the complex property is right outside my window, on a little lawn, which is also the only lawn in the complex. So, I have scenery that no one else does.
I absolutely love the view out my bedroom window. My bed is positioned so when I’m lying down I look right up into the tree and I almost always leave my curtains open, day or night. During the full moon a few nights ago, the moon shone directly in my window. When I wake up, the sun is shining down on me. I’ve only lived here long enough to experience the summer, but I can’t wait to see what it looks like all snow-covered too. It’s an amazing view that is uniquely my own. The people below me are in below-ground apartments and only see the base of the tree. The people above me see over the top of it. It’s a view only I have.
This is connected to writing, I promise.
We all have our own ‘view’ that is ours and ours alone. There are some experiences that are common to all humans, and some experiences that we share with a few others, but there are some things that are unique to us, and there is no one else, alive or dead, who has ever or will ever see the world through our eyes. That’s how writing is, too. You write in the same genre as many other writers, you may write stories similar to someone else’s stories, but there is no one who can bring to the page the same ‘view’ that you have. No one else has your knowledge, vision, or voice.
Our lives and experiences influence our writing, whether we realize it or not. Even if two writers sat down and wrote the same exact plot, the stories would be different because both writers have a different experience of life. All writing is unique in that sense–no one can bring the things to the page that you can, because they have never seen things from your view. Bring your vision of the world to your writing and you will find it not only the most satisfying, but the most true. It’s the only way we can share what we see with each other, at least to some extent.
I think sometimes when people are new to writing, they fear they’ll write something that sounds like something else, or something that’s already been written, or they’ll ‘steal’ an idea without meaning to. But there’s no real need to fear this, because no one else sees the world through your eyes. When you stay true to what you see, you bring something unique to every sentence you write.
Look out your own window and tell us what you see. No one else has that unique view.
Side Note: Right now I’m giving away a copy of The Burning City at All Things Urban Fantasy! Stop by and find out my top 10 favorite ghost stories and enter to win. Contest closes on Thursday Sept. 22nd!