What Is My ‘Writing Voice’ and How Do I Find Mine?

by Feb 5, 2018Writing Tips

What Is My ‘Writing Voice’ and How Do I Find Mine?

Our writing voice is not something that’s lost that if we look long and hard enough for, will eventually turn up like a pair of mislaid spectacles that have been hiding under a pile of unopened mail.

It is a fluency we slowly accrue with our writing.

It’s the closeness we have to our writing personality, the awareness of who we are, combined with our idiosyncracies, passions, neuroses, life experiences.

It may never have presented itself to us, in much the way that our internal organs have remained mysteriously concealed. To hone it down to one phrase, we’d have to go with ‘the thing inside you that wants to be said in only the way that you can say it.’

Maybe you’re thinking, how can that be so hard? But think about it – when we’re hungry, our bellies grumble. When we’re tired, we yawn. When we need a good bonk, our bits start to itch. But when we need to write, the urge come camouflaged. It barks in our dreams, or weighs in our hearts as depression. Something rumbles in us. A formless nameless squall that winds through us, and settles as longing and may be distorted into obsessions with tidying the kitchen counter and doing exactly forty-five minutes on the treadmill.

 

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

To write, we have to have some degree of self-awareness. In meditation, we’re taught to notice the breath, and then to notice the part of us that is noticing. We become aware then, not only of the part of us that is in physical pain, worrying about the shopping list or formulating our next Tweet, but the part of us that is aware of those thoughts or feelings. Writing requires this kind of perspective too. We have to zoom in and zoom out. We have to switch between our left and right brains and be aware when we’re driving on the left or the right. Actually, being a good observer (of our internal states as well as what is going on around us) is one of the keys of becoming a really good writer. We write, partly, because we don’t just want life to happen to us, but to be noticing life. To be massaging the meaning out of it. Writing is a reflective exercise. It’s about getting to that examination that Plato talked about in the ‘examined life.’

Knowing who we are and what we want to say is about noticing where we are. It’s about location – in time, space, emotion and spiritual growth. So who are you? Where are you? What do you have to say? And how will you say it? And how can you say it in only the way that you can?

Stay close to these questions. Keep them as your companions. Let them nudge you to greater vulnerability. That’s the space we create that invites our voice out.

Getting Lost in Our Own Bullsh*t – the Excuses We Use to Not Write

Honestly I’ve heard them all. Hell, I’ve used them all. I’ve had ten books published, have six or seven partially-written manuscripts saved in three different computers and dozens of journals, have mentored hundreds of writers, and even published a few through Joanne...

Joanne Fedler Media Spotlight: Jess Zlotnick

'The purpose of freedom is to free someone else.’ -Toni Morrison   I started mentoring writers ten years ago to save myself from starvation as an author in a climate of declining advances and book sales. But something happened in the teaching that saved me from...

Spelling Out My Story

“Bernard! If you don’t stop that, I’ll go get the sack.” That was all Marie said, and her son stopped, looked up in fear, and apologised. Marie relaxed back into her seat and explained, “He knows I’ll hang him in the sack from a tree for an hour. It's funny, he is so...

A Man’s Job

There is, however, a fine line between an acceptance of these jobs as ‘natural’ and the slippery slope into boorish gender stereotypes in which I am invariably left unshod with a frilly apron at the kitchen sink. Whilst I can do anything if I wish to, I do believe there are certain tasks I, as a woman, am simply and without further explanation excused from. I don’t want to get into a conversation about it and I don’t want to fight about it.

After Angie’s Example

Angie was one of those girls who seemed to have it all. People enjoyed being around her. It wasn’t just because she was kind, it was that she exuded strength. But Angie got her strength the hard way.On a warm summer evening, after all our exams were over and life...

Being with What Is Leaving Us

I have never nursed a dying person. Regrettably, I have killed many a plant. Not on purpose. But it seems as if I’m afflicted with a negligence – perhaps more generously understood as a failure of translation – between caring for fauna and caring for florae. I have...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *