Monday, July 26, 2010


I've been struggling lately with finding my voice in writing, and in being confident in who that voice is. I know what I want to write - romantic comedy. At the core of my writer's soul, there is romance and laughter...maybe a little bit of magic, too.

I can do the romance. I have to make sure not to go from romantic and sweet to melodramatic and cheesy, but I can do it.

I can do magic. I love fairy tales, fantasy novels, everything that sparkles the sense of something beyond the real world.

Where I struggle is laughter.
When hanging out with friends or with the boyfriend, I'm told that I'm funny. I'm quirky and sarcastic and when I'm on, I'm good. Granted, I'm also random and that makes people laugh a lot, too, mostly because some of the stuff that pops out of my mouth is so unexpected.

Then I go to Lucy's site, and I read what the Betties say, and I feel utterly and completely...lacking. Humdrum. My wit is not nearly as witty as many of these women. If they are Everest, I'm that anthill in the backyard that keeps coming back despite your best efforts.

There are two authors that I love to read, that I can't put down, that I wish to God I could write like - Terry Pratchett and Jennifer Crusie. They are the peak of wit and humor and intelligent fluff for me, or wisdom masquerading as fluff. They are the writers I turn to when I'm tired and lonely and needing comfort and laughter.

I want to write. I want to be published. I want to be someone else's Jennifer Crusie or Terry Pratchett. I just don't know if I have the talent to go with that desire.

And I don't know if I can find a voice for all of this that will get me where I want to be.


  1. Sierra, you are funny. We all must bow before the Betties...they're a clever lot.

    Keep working at it.

  2. Oh, honey... I only have time for this much, right now: that I'd ask you to try to remember that, as difficult as it can be to keep sight of, talent is not a zero-sum game. The fact that people you admire are good, does not make you bad. It may give you something to aspire to, but it doesn't need to make you feel any less than you are--and from what I've seen of the Betties, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want to even inadvertently make you feel as though that were the case! What are the Betties about but mutual encouragement?

    (And I don't see any gap between your comments on LucyMarch and anyone else's. And guess what? You made other Betties laugh too; I saw it, they said so!)

    Remember how there are, like, 400-some comments on that Kate Harding post (, all women celebrating themselves, to absolutely no one else's detriment but only to mutual celebration? It can be done!

    And remember how just last night you suggested I might make a physical on-paper list of things that make me happy about myself, in case I find myself in that sticky situation we talked about? You want something to write about? Here's my challenge for you: Write yourself a list like that. Don't qualify anything. And believe in what you say, because I'm telling you, whatever you write, it's going to be the truth.

    And the last step: be brave; post it on here so we can all say "Hellz yeah!"

    *Hugs* I love you.

  3. Sierra, just remember that you are your own biggest critic and you shouldn't be so harsh on yourself. And if it makes you feel any better I would say that if you are the anthill in the backyard I am a tiny speck of dirt that they used to build the anthill...I couldn't do witty if my life depended on it. So even though you may not think you are as witty as the Betties, you're also a helluva lot wittier than others.

  4. Sierra, we must be sisters. I feel the exact same way. I want to write magical, romantic comedies, but struggle to make my sarcastic side appear on the page. I don't write funny. Not sure why, but I'm on this journey with you. I also feel self conscious when faced with the wit and hilarity that is the Betties. Maybe we are both trying too hard. I talked to a friend of mine about this the other day and she suggested that I record myself telling a funny anecdote, something that I told her that made her laugh, and then listen to it and write it out word for word. She thinks I have to write many, many, many more pages before my written voice sounds like my regular old funny self. I hope she's right.

    Maybe we can help each other get in touch with our funny bones. :) - Bona Fide Betty

  5. Thanks for the support, guys. :) It does mean a lot to know that people do find me funny. I doubt I will ever be as mind-blowingly snarky as Toni or Betty Fokker, but honestly...who can?

    @Kris - Please. I don't think any Betty rates below an anthill. :) Anthill is the starting point. It's a fact of life that Betty = witty. See Kelly's comment for an interesting take on witty translating into writing. It's a good point that writing and talking are very different.

    @Tangoist - Thanks, love. I'll consider doing that. Sharing it is the hard part, cause then I'm bragging, and we all know how I feel about that. ;)

    @Kelly - That's a great suggestion! I know that I have good comedic timing on stage, so now I just have to figure out how to translate that into writing. Typing out anecdotes and such is brilliant. Thank you.

  6. First, I don't think you're lacking at all, I think you just don't see it. You're not the first, either. How many times have you seen Crusie writing in her blog that she doesn't think she's funny? It happens. Write what you're going to write in a way that resonates with you. It's all you can do.

    As a side note, I have the same problem. I feel like a dolt when I comment alongside the Betties. Also, I've written things that I've intended to be funny and had no one laugh; and I've written things I've intended to be serious and had people tell me how funny it was. You never can tell how others will react. Bear that in mind and write what you need to write.

  7. That's the problem, isn't it? Unapologetically telling the honest truth about oneself isn't bragging--it's ... well ... telling the honest truth. And if you're not comparing yourself to anyone else, that doesn't hurt anyone. But I understand; I'm prone to the same "nice girl" self-effacing thinking.

    I hope you'll maybe reread the Kate Harding post for inspiration if you need it, but I definitely hope you'll try it anyway. (And refer to it often when you need a little shot in the arm! :) It's a tremendously liberating experience.

    Nicely said, Delia.