I spent many, many years trying to understand how to become a better writer. One who sounded like all those other ‘published’ writers who always seemed to have something in their writing that mine could never seem to match. A lot of the writing books I bought and read would always refer to the same thing which was ‘finding your voice.’
Which, if you’re reading this sounds rather weird since if you can talk, don’t you already have a voice? Well not necessarily. A writer’s voice is different from the one you use in your daily life when relating to the world and the people around you. A writer’s voice bares your soul to the world and leaves nothing back. A writer’s voice cannot contain self-deceit of any kind related to where you are in your life right this moment and cannot pretend to love the life you have if you truly don’t.
When I first read this in numerous writing how-to books, I thought it nothing more than published author dribble. What the heck are they talking about when they say you have to find your voice? Sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me, and for a long time I ignored what these books were saying and kept writing the way I had always done. But something changed along the way. When I would go back to read what I had written some months after the fact, I could eventually see and acknowledge the missing element in my writing that these books were referring to. My early writing was well-structured and logical and interesting to read but was nowhere near the quality that came later. For some time I had difficulty defining what exactly was missing from my early written works until finally I had it figured out.
What was missing was truth. My truth. My inability to share who I really was with whomever might be reading it and feeling massive amounts of insecurity about laying myself out on the page. But that is the key to any great writer. A writer who pretends they love their life or keeps hidden from their readers and themselves their dissatisfaction with their life is a writer who won’t maintain their readers’ interest for long. A writer who is unable or unwilling to write from their authentic selves cannot connect to those who read their words because readers are a perceptive group who can intuit from the words they read whether or not the author is telling their truth. A writer who writes from their truth using their own voice (one that isn’t borrowed or based on the style of another author), is one who will at some point in time get their words read. An honest, open writer is one who gets people interested in what they have to say since this kind of writer recognizes the value of their own voice. They value their own words and their own experience which in turn allows readers to also value the words they write. Honest writing using your own authentic voice allows readers to connect with an author as an individual who is having an experience they want to share.
What many readers everywhere value most is finding an author they can form a connection with, even if just for the length of a blog, article or a single book. If that personal connection is missing then the reader will be unable to relate to whatever is the writer is talking about, and likely unable to finish reading whatever it is you’ve written. Connecting to readers on an emotional or personal level should be the primary goal of any writer because otherwise you’re just writing a journal. And there’s nothing wrong with writing a journal, but even journal writers at some level, even if not on a conscious level feel the pull to share their writing with others, which is typically where memoirs and autobiographies come from. Find your voice and in return you will find your authenticity and be rewarded with the knowledge that you have a strong sense of self that becomes more refined with every word you write. Not only that, but writing from your authentic self allows for soul expression and nothing gives more satisfaction than living a soulful life.