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.

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