How Do You Find Your Voice?

When I hear people talk about finding their voice, it sounds like a mysterious process where they sit very still, eyes closed and channel in that spirit which reveals the profound and peculiar. To some, maybe it does, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You see, you don’t exactly find your voice, no more than you find your personality. It’s already a part of you. But you must give place to it.

I look at it this way, when you were a child your mother decided what clothes you would wear and how she would style your hair. She picked out the cutesy outfits with the colors and patterns she loved. Then, as you grew older you begin to imitate the styles from T.V. or magazines (spiked hair and fluorescent colored eye shadow…remember the 80s…yikes). As you matured your style became a compilation of various looks; you honed and adjusted them to fit you.

Now, compare that to writing. In the beginning your voice may replicate a particular writer you enjoy or admire. But the more you write and seek within to tell your story as authentically as possible your true voice will emerge; like that wallflower of a girl who suddenly gets the revelation that she is beautiful. Your own rhythm, choice of words will develop and come alive. Your work may speak whispers of writers you love, (No one would be upset because they were compared to Toni Morrison or Joyce Carol Oates.) but it is your voice that will blare. Do not push it. Don’t set out to define it. It will define and reveal itself to you.

Remember your reasons for wanting to write. Most likely, it was not because you wanted to, ‘be’ someone else. It was probably because you had a story to tell and you either couldn’t find anyone that could make it as compelling as you could or you felt you needed to express yourself. No matter, say it as truthfully and honestly as possible and your voice will ring loud and clear.