Lately a lot of my writers have been talking about their voice. What is it? How do they find it? How much does it matter? Do they have one even?
It's interesting that the question of voice should come up so much now, during a time of chaos and unease in the economy, with the election around the corner and with so many doubts about where we're going as we stare into an uncertain future.
Because voice is authenticity. When writers question their voice, they're often asking, Am I being me? or Am I being true to me? A particularly resonant question during times when we're confronted with so much inauthenticity. People who write and talk about writing often tell writers to write what they know. And there's a reason for that. There's truth and authenticity in what you know, after all. And those writers who feel at ease with voice are usually writing from a place of truth.
So how do you find your truth, or your voice, if you're looking for it? The answer to this question lies in feeling into your writing and paying attention to when you're in the groove. Do you recognize the difference between writing that feels effortless and writing that feels forced? Do you sometimes get lost in the flow of your writing and experience a connection to what you're doing that feels like faith or grace or even just spaciousness?
Writing is in fact a sacred act, one that requires much more giving over of yourself to your prospective reader than most people imagine when they decide they want to write. It requires presence. It requires authenticity and integrity and desire. Whether you're writing memoir or self-help or fiction, writing with authenticity is a discipline that can be elusive, perhaps only attainable in certain moments on certain days for certain little periods of time.
Practice becoming aware of it and see if you can start to gauge the factors that cultivate truth in your writing practice: morning versus evening? state of mind you're in when you sit down to write? ability to clear the clutter of your mind or your to-do list and be present with the task at hand? writing in the living room in the middle of family conversation versus at your dedicated writing space?
Consider it. It's elusive, but you have the ability to harness it.
Until next month,
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