Sunday, December 3, 2017

Your Writing and the Snowflake

All the words have been written before. All the great lines have been published. The killer plots have been monetized and made into movies. DNA will be mapped. Clones, mass produced. Droids will replace the workforce. Stop now. It's no use.

Except, the snowflake.
Ollie and snow.

How can it be that one snowflake can never perfectly match another? (And I'm not talking about this snowflake.)

Snow forms by falling through the air and is determined by the path it takes to the ground. Water vapor is susceptible to its environment. So, you humanists out there, take heart that environment is more important that pre-determined factors about the source of the water vapor.

My writing, your writing, develops like the snowflake. No one else can write your story because no one else has lived through what you've lived through. You might make mistakes in style, technique, plausibility, wordiness, grammar, but the story is all yours. You might bore everyone by pg. 6, but it's all your boringness, and no one else's. (Congratulations, you're a bore!)

If we writers put our computers away and never write another sentence again, because we think we can't sell our stories, or because we do, in fact, bore people, what do we have left? Would it be like a world without snow? Now that sounds like the interesting start of a good story.

So, I write this blog for me and say that I write it for readers who have an interest in writing (or who know who I am or want to know more). But, mainly, I write it for me. Because I don't feel like a snowflake. I try to convince myself, "Yes, yes, you are meritorious in your pursuit," when a sense of futility weighs more on the scale.

Even famous, prescient writers felt this way. Octavia Butler often wrote notes to remind herself of her standing as an accomplished writer. She needed personal affirmation, even as an award-winning best-seller.

Who am I writing for? A commercial audience or myself? Does it matter? Maybe, like a snowflake, my writing is a singular, floating, temporary entity. Just me.


  1. Thanks, Jennifer. I was stuck on a scene and feeling less than effective as a writer. I can go on with it now, knowing I'm a snowflake.


Brave soul to make a comment. Wink.