When I first moved to New Orleans from Mississippi, my new friends told me that I had a thick accent. I thought this was funny because in my mind everyone else was speaking with thick accents. It was during a stage speech class that I was able to recognize my speech patterns and realize that I indeed spoke with a lazy tongue that drawled out "dog" to "dawg".
I began to speak without an accent because I learned to snap my tongue with each word. That is until I moved to Texas and my new friends snickered at my pronunciation of words ending in "er". So "water" became "wha-duh". I blame my husband and his family for this because the accent of St. Bernard Parish just outside of New Orleans mimics that of the Brooklyn accent. People often think he is from New York.
So I soak up accents and phrases from everyone and every place. I don't even try to figure out how I speak anymore.
The good thing is that I can use this in my writing and come up with characters that are hopefully authentic.