Posted On November 21, 2012 by Print This Post

Avoiding Beige Writing by Laura O’Connell

Beige Writing? Horrors! Let’s hear how we can avoid it with author Laura O’Connell!

Is your writing dull, colourless and boring? Are you wondering why editors aren’t picking you up for publication? It could be that your work lacks personality…your personality.

Do you want to be the next Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele, or do you want to be you? I know I can’t be either of these authors. I’ve had different life experiences, so there is no way I can be like them. I have to be Laura O’Connell who writes about the world from my viewpoint.

We’ve all had unique experiences that make each of us different, so why do we try to emulate someone else? Of course, we want to be successful just like them, but we can’t be. Your writing flavour is different, and that’s a good thing. We’re often told to read the successful authors to see how they write, but it doesn’t mean we copy them.

The number one ingredient, I believe, in being a successful author is originality and bringing observations of life to the page in the words I know and use. This is called voice and is very easily achieved if you remain true to yourself.

Your audience will be different to the already successful authors. Your reader is someone who resonates with your work. Les Edgerton says in his book, ‘Finding your Voice’—“your reader is yourself”. You write because you want to put your observations and thoughts out for your readers so they know they’re not alone. They are drawn into your world and live the characters’ journeys because they have experienced similar things in life that you have. Your individual voice comes through the tone of the work, the vocabulary, imagery and rhythm that is all yours. This is where the reader actually gets you, the writer, not Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele.

When you’re trying to be like a writer you admire, your internal editor starts taking over and the result is flat and rigid writing. If you let go of trying to be someone you’re not, your writing style will flow naturally. I’m giving you permission now to shoot your internal editor and be the author you’re meant to be. Go on, do it now!

Now get to work and get those words written that come from deep inside you, the real you who has personality plus. Bring forward the ideas and exciting stories lurking below the conscious mind. Write to please you and your readers, not Nora Roberts’s or Danielle Steele’s readers.


Ru Writers – what color is your writing?

Join us on Friday for new author Lindsay J Pryor!


Bio: Laura enjoys writing stories about second chances in love and life. She calls the Gold Coast home, however, her curious nature leads her on adventures to locations that surprise and delight her. Laura has a passion for telling a good story set in places where she has lived and traveled. Her first book, African Hearts, was shortlisted in the 2011 Caleb Prize.

Laura around the web:

Website             Facebook              Twitter        Author Page

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17 Responses to “Avoiding Beige Writing by Laura O’Connell”

  1. Hi Laura,

    I’ve never assigned a color to my writing. Colors have so many hidden meanings too. Until a certain book was published, grey meant bland.

    Happy Turkey Day Eve, RU!

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | November 21, 2012, 8:12 am
  2. Morning Laura!

    My writing is orange – most days. =) A little exciting, a little fun and a little bit passionate.

    This is one of the reasons I love nano…I just let go and write whatever comes into my head. Unfortunately last night it was mostly drivel….lol

    Thanks for posting with us today!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 21, 2012, 8:33 am
    • Thanks for your comments, Carrie. Orange sounds like a great color to be writing in. It’s okay to write drivel, that means you’re getting down deep to where your writing gems are. Actually, Dr Seuss wrote a great book about feelings and color.

      Posted by Laura O'Connell | November 21, 2012, 1:32 pm
  3. I really really really needed to read this, because right now I am second-guessing myself, wondering if my voice is good enough, and thinking I should be something else.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Posted by Mercy | November 21, 2012, 10:07 am
    • Hi Mercy, Your voice is good enough, because you are you and that means your voice is unique. It’s when we try to copy a well-known writer that we start unravelling and losing who we are and the writing loses its color and flavour. So hang in there, write from the heart and make your words sing.
      I’m glad my post has helped you today.

      Posted by Laura O'Connell | November 21, 2012, 1:36 pm
  4. This is excellent advice, Laura! I think my problem is that my writing is fuchsia – a little too weird at times. When I enter contests (which I rarely do anymore…) my scores are usually a mix of very high – the judges who liked my voice, and very low – the judges who hated it. I need to find a happy medium, if that’s possible.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 21, 2012, 10:48 am
    • Thanks for dropping by, Becke. Weird is fun and weird opens the door to bigger and better possibilities. The important thing to remember with our writing also is that we aren’t going to get every reader on the planet to like our work. In my humble opinion, the judges who liked your voice are your reading base. They are the ones who understand and ‘get you’, possibly becausse they’ve had similar experiences in life. They like your voice, so I would say not to find the happy medium but be yourself and the rest will come.

      Posted by Laura O'Connell | November 21, 2012, 1:42 pm
  5. Hello, Laura!

    I love the title of your post. This is something I need to be reminded of often! One thing that stunts my voice is the adherence to “the rules”. The same story lines are used over and over, but what makes a story unique is voice. You nailed it when you said not everyone is going to “get you”. I write what I like to read.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 21, 2012, 3:53 pm
  6. What a wonderful post. I am just starting out at the moment and struggling to find my voice.

    I will now focus on writing what I would want to read, not what I think I ‘should’ be writing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Laura.

    Posted by Lauren James | November 21, 2012, 8:24 pm
  7. Great tips; there is only one of us and we can never be anyone else so it makes sense to use your own personal voice when writing. No one else will have that voice.

    Posted by Trident | December 13, 2012, 4:41 am

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