I used to live in the desert and drink from the Well of Right Words. One day, I walked until I found an unexpected oasis. Now I sip phrases from succulent fruit and inhale ideas carried by a wind that blows from beyond imagination. ~Sandy Ackers
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People often talk about writers “finding their voice,” as if it’s a lost pet that ran out the door when someone carelessly left it open. We all have a voice, right? We speak. People understand us. But finding your voice as a writer can be a daunting task. You write a short story in the same way you talk, and it falls flat. You create a poem about your lost love and it sounds like a million others you’ve read.
There’s lots of advice out there for tapping into your unique writer’s voice. I just did a Google search on the subject and found many helpful tips: read a lot, imitate writers you admire, write the way you speak, be willing to write badly, don’t censor yourself, write about what you’re passionate about, write about what you’re afraid of…the list goes on.
Though I believe we’re all different and each have our own journey, I want to share my experience here. For me, finding my voice was simply a matter of writing. And writing. Then writing some more. I wrote all the time. I learned to write from my heart. I went where my writing took me, even when it seemed stupid or pulled me in the opposite direction I’d been intending to go. I did massive amounts of freewriting. I took classes and joined workshops. I wrote fiction, poetry, essays, experimental pieces, journal entries and more. I read authors I admired and noticed how they put words together in ways I found interesting.
And then I wrote some more.
Finally, one day, I knew I’d found my voice. I just knew it, the way you always know the most profound things in your life, if you let yourself. I felt it deep inside.
How did you find your voice as a writer? Or what are you doing to find it?