A Journey Through My Right Brain To My Writer’s Voice

Author/Poet Debra Davis Hinkle

*Right Brain – …associated with creative thought and…

I started writing in 2004 and almost ten years later, I was still struggling with my writer’s voice.

Was I a writer, a poet? If I was an author, did I only write creative non-fiction about my childhood? If I was a poet, why did my poems sound like my prose? 

Why couldn’t I write about my favorite thing, cats? That was my biggest question and I needed an answer. I didn’t know that the answer would lead to other questions being answered, too.

I decided to study the writing used in cat books. I gambled and choose one immensely popular cat book series. I spent a winter reading Warrior cat books, the first four series:  The Prophecies Begin, The New Prophecy, Power of Three, and Omen of the Star, twenty-four books. 

That winter a dear friend, Stephanie, asked, “Debra, you do know those are children’s books?” 

“Yes, I’m using them to help me find my writer’s voice, especially my ‘cat voice’.” I still haven’t admitted to my friend that I read more than thirty of those books and just how much I enjoyed them. That’s my secret.

Long story, short: I took the books in on an easy, fun, heartwarming level, and a couple of years later I had my voice and the voice of my feral and domestic cats. I knew how they spoke to each other and to me.

I also figured out that I can write in different genres, but that I prefer creative non-fiction. My cat writing is done mostly via narrative poetry. I have a cookbook percolating, too. I might even finish that book on my childhood. Who knows? I can write whatever I want.

My latest right-brain publication is a collaboration with poet Shirley Radcliff Bruton:

pastedGraphic.png Available on Amazon

Debra’s published books:

This ‘n That Poetry, with Shirley Radcliff Bruton.

Tales from a Rocky Coast, Volume 1, an anthology with three other authors.

Tears to Laughter, Embracing the Future Without Forgetting the Past, with Jim Leonard.

Debra’s books due out in 2020 – 2021: Oodles of Blog Post Ideas; Meow Poetry, 1 – 3


Thank you, Debra, for a very interesting look at how you discovered your writing voice. It’s fascinating to see where/how writers do discover their own uniqueness. And it’s been amazing watching you grow as a writer! I hope all who read this learn something about the unexpected places one can find one’s true voice.

About Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is a professional freelance editor, writing instructor and multi-award winning author of 21 books—6 nonfiction on writing (Write It Right), 6 suspense novels and 7 collections of award-winning short stories. She also has stories in both volumes of "Deadlines", the new anthology from the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Tales from a Rocky Coast, and the SLO NightWriter anthology. Under the pen name Susan Grace O'Neill, she is the author of the Journey With Jesus series: Lord, Let Me Grow (Parables) vol. 1, and Lord, Let Me Walk (Lent). She is currently working on volume #2 of her Skylark P.I. series (a PI with paranormal abilities), as well as 2 YA fantasy series. And she teaches fiction writing in both the morning and afternoon every Wednesday. Email her if you're interested in joining her class. And follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.