Today's prompt on the BlogHer NaBloPoMo site is: "Do you feel you have found your voice on your blog? What techniques have you tried to develop your voice in your writing? What are some characteristics of your personality in your writing?"
I wrote two short stories in six years that I thought were not terrible. I sent one to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I got a very nice rejection letter from the editor that said the prose style was interesting but he just couldn't get into the subject matter, which should have been encouraging, but I was stuck for more subject matter. I didn't know WHAT I wanted to write about. Also, the story made everybody who read it, including my husband, think that I didn't want children, which was a bit of a concern for him since we were trying to get pregnant at the time. I said "fuck OFF, not every character is me!" I proceeded to have a kid or two and not endeavour to get them kidnapped or killed, so I think by now he's probably convinced.
I kept trying to write short stories, but it didn't work. I couldn't work up a character, and if I did I couldn't get them from the kitchen to the laundry room without everything being painfully awkward - it was like my writing took them all out at the knees - "I want to be a good protagonist but these tortured similes won't let me move forward!"
I became aware of blogging at some point, and I thought it was ridiculous. Who would be colossally arrogant enough to put their diary on the internet, and if they did, who would possibly care to read it? I believe I said the words "I will never have a blog" on more than one occasion. On the other hand, I was more and more aware that all my friends would say they loved getting emails from me because they were so smart and funny and entertaining, and when I asked them to read my short stories they would read them and say "hey, your last email was so smart and funny and entertaining, and here, I made you some cookies."
So then I thought, hmm, if I started a blog, it would kind of be like writing emails to the world. And since I couldn't possibly be any less successful as a writer than I already was, I gleefully tossed my principles to the wind and googled "how to start a blog". Whenever I read my short stories over, I'm in an agony of cringing mortification. When I reread my blog posts, I'm generally thinking "goddamn, I really am quite amusing." I haven't written the Great Canadian Anything. My readership is small (but kickass). Sometimes I've done nothing but given myself and one other person a quick laugh for the day. It feels like a kind of success.
Answer to the second question: Uh, none really. I signed up for daily writing prompts from Sarah Selecky. They come to my inbox every day and I dutifully open them up and look at them and stick them in a folder. I think of NaBloPoMo as kind of a good technique to encourage my voice, in the same way that drinking half a bottle of vodka is a good technique to encourage my head into the toilet; sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it.
Answer to the third question: Overuse of dashes, undue reliance on the word 'totally' and a lot of swearing - I like to throw in a little unanticipated repetition, e.g. 'jesus jesus fuck' or "son of a bitching bitching bitch", or maybe mix it up a little with an unusual combination like 'rabbit-humping whore-douche' or 'jack-bitching anus-hat'.
Sorry. I felt like things were getting a little earnest there.