Recently, I read this fantastic post about finding your voice through being your genuine self.
And yeah, I know what your thinking…where did my voice go in the first place? What am I, Bumblebee from transformers? Is there some kind of treasure hunt that I could participate in to find it again? And if I can, is Tom Hanks available? Is life truly like a box of chocolates?
Ok ok, I’m getting off topic here.
I get asked all the time by my adoring fans (aka the two people who will read this), “Lion, how did you get such a kick-ass writing style? I love listening to you roar and growl all over the jungle. Can you be the voice of our generation? “To which I say…. Simba, my child, sure I’ll do it. I’ll take that magic bullet from here to Narnia! Where is this generational voice vacancy? Or GV if your savvy.
Ok, ill fess up. No one has ever asked me any of that, but if said vacancy did become available I would totally apply.
So, how does one go about “finding their voice?” Well, finding your voice is a bit like finding the zone, its ephemeral, effervescent and most times you don’t know that you found it until it’s too late.
Even worse, once you have found it, finding it again, can be as difficult as finding a good transformers movie…. (i.e. did one ever exist at all?)
If I’m starting to sound like a philosophical question gone bad, don’t fret. By the end of this, I’ll have you writing so silky smooth, that literary agents and publishers will line up for miles to get a look at you because you might have just ascended into a deity.
Yep, I lied.
Aside from listening to the mellifluous sounds of the Queen Bee herself, you should take time to really listen to what you sound like. Spend time alone with your thoughts and embrace who you are as a person. Now, sure if your line of thinking naturally drifts towards “inflicting pain upon others” you might need to get looked at – or join the UFC. Otherwise, embrace what you sound like, and really listen to who that person is. It might sound weird, it might sound raw, it might not even be English, but that’s you.
When I was younger, I was afraid to talk to anyone who wasn’t me, and women? Oh, they rendered me completely speechless. So yeah, I was socially awkward, still am in fact. Now I just embrace the awkwardness, because it’s who I am. Word of advice (ok “words”) – write like who you are and your writing will be better for it.
Finding the zone…
The zone is a warm cozy house with all the fixings of a fireplace cackling in the background when its snowing outside. Narrated by Morgan Freeman of course.
The zone is a magical place where you always have the right words. It’s a constant stream of consciousness, bridging one reverential thought to the next. Nothing can go wrong, no sentence too long, no phrase to awkward. And the best part is – no Grammar Nazi’s allowed.
When you find the zone, relish it, because it is the very best version of yourself and your voice resides within that space. So, when you find it – lock yourself in and throw away the key.
Write about things you actually care about
If you want to find your (Inner Yoda), here’s a secret. Don’t write articles about engineering if it bores you. It’s all about passion. Write about the things you really care about, if you don’t know what you are passionate about, its simple. Would you do it even if it never paid you? If your answer is yes, then nine times out of ten, you are passionate about it. For me, that thing is writing. Henceforth, I write about writing. And whilst that might be somewhat paradoxical, I truly don’t care.
It’s all about being genuine, when you talk about things you A, don’t care about or B, don’t know enough about, it shows.
When you write about the things you love, no matter how terrible – hell, it might even be fan fiction of twilight, guess what happens…50 shades of grey and millions and millions of dollars….so write about what you are passionate about and stop wasting your time. Besides, you can invent an entirely new spectrum of color. Pretty cool right?
Your audience is intelligent, most times more intelligent that you. (No, not me, just you) Because of that, they can tell when you just phone it in, or, don’t really care about what your writing and when that happens you not only lose your readers, you lose integrity.
Writing a lot
Look, you might not be Shakespeare, actually I’m rather certain you won’t ever be, (The guy practically invented modern English) but that should not dissuade you from writing – or being an English teacher.
You cannot find your voice if you never write, you need to write, I repeat, you need to write. A lot. Write horribly, with deplorable grammar and words that make no sense, then write clear concise beautifully crafted masterpieces that could have only been woven by god himself. But don’t be afraid to write, because through the good, the terrible and mostly unreadable, you will find some common ground where you realise you are actually good enough at this and when you stop trying to write and just…write you find this magical thing that writing has always been about, this cosmic force that we all strive to achieve – purpose.
Finding your voice is a reflection on knowing who you are as a person
I know this is a bit deep, but I like to keep it real with you guys. I have always used writing as my personal shipwright to guide me toward true north. This always helped me come to terms with my perspectives on things and ultimately, who I was as a person. It’s quite simple, if you don’t know who you are, how can you find your voice?
Being less judgemental and accepting your
Accept who you are as a person and embrace your flaws, because it is those very flaws that make you the awesome individual you are. You are going to fail, your vanity is going to fade, but through time your wisdom will grow. Let all of it trickle into your writing, until one day you ride in on the wave of success.
Also, when you do that please throw me a bone, us Lions get hungry.
Things are hard out here for a Lion…..