Kaitlyn Sanchez is awesome and I’m so glad that she could be on my blog today! Kaitlyn wears many hats as a mother, math teacher, writer and most recently she has become a intern at Olswanger Literary! Soon she will be a fantastic agent (as she is already a fantastic intern) and be gathering all of the best stories to put in bookstores near you! I absolutely can not wait to see this happen.
Here is Kaitlyn’s website: https://kaitlynleannsanchez.com/
You can follow her updates there and see when Kaitlyn opens up to submissions! Look at the end of this post to see how you can enter to win a PRIZE from Kaitlyn. She’s offering a critique to one lucky winner!
Voice--How Do You Find That?
Voice. It’s one of the most important and most difficult things to understand in writing.
I think the only way to find your voice is to write. Most writers have tried many things before they find their niche, sometimes it’s different styles, sometimes it’s even different genres. I think many writers discover their voice when they find their niche. And for others it’s the opposite, their voice dictates their niche. Now, by niche, I don’t mean once you write funny, you have to always write funny, so to make this a bit more clear, let’s journey through my past.
When I started writing picture books, I began writing about math, in rhyme. When I realized I need to have more than one story to get my work out there, I tried to figure out this whole “character-driven” thing I kept reading about. So I thought of a character, my daughter, and wrote a story about her using imagination to make chores more fun. Next, I tried a story inspired by my students’ beautiful way of blending Spanish and English language when they talk and had to create a premise to fit. At this point I had no idea how to access the ideas side of my brain when it came to writing, so I only had these three stories.
Then, enter STORYSTORM! Reading all this advice of how to come up with ideas and and live in a way that keeps my mind open to story ideas, helped ideas come in left and right. The hard part was writing them down. Once I started writing more and getting feedback from my friends and from critiques I won (and competing in contests), I started realizing my voice is often enthusiastic with some humor added in–I love writing in the How To style with a comical narrator, I love rhyming, and I often have similar onomatopoeia and/or exclamations in my stories. Sometimes, I write stories that are more intense and serious, but I still tend to have at least one of these things–a part with humor, enthusiastic interjections, etc. Things that have always been a part of my life.
I believe my voice is my uninhibited self in a kid’s mind–often my mind as a kid. But to rediscover that child within me, I had to write…a lot! And read a lot: my critique partners’ stories, TONS of picture books from the library and local book stores, and I had to open my mind to ideas that would let that voice grow and speak to me.
So, when people ask you about your voice and you’re a new writer, you may still be searching for it. Your voice in writing isn’t one thing, it’s just what happens when you’re training, writing, idea-finding, reading, and writing some more. Are there people that just know their voice from the get go? Of course! You naturals rock so hard! We adore you! But, if you’re not sure of your voice, that’s okay too, just keep at it, keep writing, reading, and querying, you’ll find it in due time.
Now if you’re still wondering, what does voice really mean? I FINALLY got it when I read this post “Defining Voice” by Jessica Faust: http://bookendsliterary.com/
Please share what you think your voice is, or what you’d love your voice to be, or what you’re doing to find it.
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is a mom, wife, math teacher, picture book author, and intern at Olswanger Literary looking to sell her first manuscript.
She is also the co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and creator of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest.
In her free time, she loves to play soccer, binge-watch TV shows, and, of course, read. Especially when her husband and daughter cozy up so they can all read together.