Whether it’s your writing, your art, or your food; there is something powerful about someone discovering their voice.
It’s been on my mind a lot these days.
And you know what it’s like to see other people who have found theirs. It’s what makes them drive their point deep into your belly. And voices, like people, come in all different shapes.
One of the hardest things about writing is voice. In any form of art or creative thinking — finding your voice is usually the most frustrating. We tend to emulate others we respect and in doing so, sound a lot like them. But people have already heard them before.
You want people to hear you. You want people to understand. Getting that across to those not in your head is hard.
And this is something I’ve been talking to people about lately.
I’m not really for those kind of blogs that give you step by step solutions to things, which is why I don’t really post many recipes. I’m not that skilled of a cook or a writer or a person, so I don’t want you to see me that way.
But there are some things that have helped me in discovering a voice for myself.
Regardless of what you do, do it a lot.
If you want to sing, sing a lot.
If you want to write, write a lot.
If you want to cook,
I think you get it.
I think it’s important to copy things you like, but only for a little while. Start adapting things to how you work. If you like Stephen King as a writer, you’ll probably find yourself writing short stories in the same tone. (None the less, terrifying and brilliant.)
It goes the same with cooking as we copy recipes out of a book and with time, add more of this and more of that. (Or less!)
Use your intuition.
In all of these things, you are creating your voice.
And people will see that. People are already seeing that in you. Especially when that voice becomes confident and fierce.
You will be unstoppable. (Within the means of law, unfortunately.)
Have fun with it.
You probably aren’t pursuing meaningless work. Maybe you are for the sake of a good salary and benefits. No one is to blame you for that. But it’s important to also do something you love. My Paw-Paw has this saying (which I’m sure he got out of Reader’s Digest) that if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.
But that’s also not really true. Because work is work. It will suck sometimes. But when you are in pursuit of your voice, it’s refreshing. It drives you to be better. It helps the fact that you stand on your feet for over 10 hours a day. Or ball up paper and start over again and again.
You will mess up and struggle with it. Don’t expect it to be perfect.
But at some point, we all have to move. And to do that with intention and drive is what makes our voice louder than others.
Even for us quiet people, our voices can be loud.
It’s also not something we necessarily have to create, but something that, for lack of more profound words, defines who we are.
We are moms and dad and grandparents. Your voice is who you are as a teacher, how you treat and teach your kids. How you work and what you put into it.
It’s how much you want to learn and what you want to do with that knowledge. And like I said before, it’s about moving forward with that knowledge. It’s about what you give back.
Don’t think of it as something that is far off — you’ve always had a voice, and you always will.
You don’t have to go far to find it.
Just pull out a sheet of paper.
…And make it yours.