One of the biggest struggles I’ve experienced as a writer, and seen writer clients struggle with too, is communicating in a way that feels engaging but genuine. When we start writing in earnest, or return after a break, it can feel disorientating to read our words and think “Who wrote this?” because it doesn’t sound remotely like us—or how we want to sound.
And this doesn’t just apply to writing. You might also struggle to “find your voice” when it comes to design, branding, crafting, or any other creative pursuit.
Finding our voice is a challenge, mainly because of the gap between skill and vision. Radio host and producer Ira Glass illustrates this beautifully in this video:
So what do you do if you’re in that gap? How do we make peace with the reality of our current writing? If you’re struggling to find your voice, here are a few truths I’ve found helpful:
You find your voice through experience
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
“Practice, practice, practice.”
The quickest way to find our voice (not that it is necessarily a quick process) isn’t to take a step back and to think our way into it, or to read other people’s work and hope to develop it by osmosis, but to charge in headfirst and to write our way into it.
Our voice evolves
Although we get more comfortable with our voice over time, we are also constantly honing and improving our voice, therefore we never really “find” it. This is the beauty of mastery: we never truly arrive. It’s not so much a process of finding, but of cultivating, pruning, and shaping.
It happens when we don’t try to force it
Our voice will flow more easily when we keep our eyes on our own work, when we stop trying so hard to emulate our favourite writes and bloggers, when we stop viewing other people’s writing-related decisions as gospel. Although it feels risky, we grow past beginner-dom when we leave our guides, close our eyes and ask ‘What do I really want to say?”
Journaling, doodling, and similar play-based activities might seem like they fall near the bottom of the priorities list, but these are the tools that will help you learn more about what it sounds like to be you. If you’re in the process of finding your voice, make time on a daily basis to play around in your creative sandpit, experiment, and see what emerges.
Do you want some support finding your voice? I love helping creatives like you get the clarity and confidence they need to do work that feels important and meaningful. Find out more about how we can work together over on my coaching page.
Image: Luis Llerena