Let's talk about another side of "being yourself" in writing... the aspirational side. Yeah, yeah, we're not Shakespeare. So what?
There are no new ideas, and maybe only seven plot structures. So what?
We know these things, and yet we write. I assume that this is because we each have a story to tell, something important to each of us that we want to put out there into the world. Which means that -- even if we're writing fiction instead of writing memoir or a personal blog -- we are trying to show a certain facet of ourselves to others.
I also imagine that we're trying to show our best selves. (Yes, even if we're writing about human flaws, we are ultimately trying to be our best as we present these stories.)
-- Joss Whedon
What do you hope to show about yourself through your writing? Perhaps simply that you are a creative storyteller. Perhaps something deeper. What do you aspire to?
The fabulous Moonrat at Editorial Ass(istant) recently posted a link to Alexander Chee's essay about studying with Annie Dillard, and I'm getting very inspired by the whole thing, and thinking more about what I want my writing to do. Here's the part she liked best:
Yes, everything’s been written, but also, the thing you want to write, before you wrote it, was impossible to write. Otherwise it would already exist. You writing it makes it possible.The question is not, why do you WRITE? It is, why do YOU write? What do you hope to bring to writing, simply by being yourself?