I remember in high school people from Polonius on downwards telling me to be true to myself. It really annoyed me. I mean, how in the world could I be true to myself? As a freshman in high school I was fifteen. I had only known myself for fifteen years, and just about age twelve I began figuring out there were other people around. So I could be true to teachers or parents or friends, but I didn't know jack really about being true to myself.
I'm happy to report I feel much more confident in myself now in my thirties. It's so exciting to finally know who I am and to have the courage (some days!) to not be ashamed of it.
Though I've discovered a similar problem exists with writing. Sure, in school, in my job, I was able to crank out an essay here and there, write a report, without really knowing much about myself as a writer. But as a novelist, I've found it gets trickier. Should I outline the whole thing first? Should I throw outlines to the wind and write barefoot? Do I work best on the computer or with a pen? Every writers' website and blog tells a different story. The smart ones say a writer needs to find her own way. Which is really annoying. Even worse, some writers say their methods differ with each book. Very scary.
So far I've discovered a few things about myself. I put everything on the computer, all of my notes, my ideas, my plot charts, everything, but I absolutely must write it all by hand first, especially my actual story. I love the freedom of writing, of inventing characters, taking my story wherever--but my first drafts have no plot, no character arcs and usually no villains. So I also find myself drawing charts, mindmaps, outlines, over and over and over again, desperately hoping I can find a way to use everything I wrote and squeeze it into a plot. Once I have a plot I get to go back to free writing and imagination. Then I repeat this pattern 2000 some times. I'm in the graphing stage right now, which I hate. But I'm just not creative or smart enough to plot organically. Maybe someday it will come more naturally. I hope.
But in the meantime, I think Facebook or Cosmo or someone should so have a quiz on "What kind of writer are you?". I could know my coloration, my personality-type, which light saber I should carry AND how best to write my book. Then I would be complete.