Some Thoughts on Voice

Photo Credit: Steven Ford
Photo Credit: Steven Ford

In yesterday’s post, I briefly touched on identity. I was speaking about my personal identity as a writer. More specifically, I wasn’t sure how to find my voice. I did not explore that thought too much yesterday, and I now realize my voice will come to me over time. This is not something I can sculpt from polymer clay, fire in the oven, and be done with it. My voice will develop through patience, dedication, trust, and practice.

So what does that mean? It means I need to trust the words I write and be patient with myself. It means I will stick to a schedule of writing every day and develop a personal set of ethics. I believe a writer’s voice is less about a conscious effort to shape and more about tending. I imagine my voice is inherent to my being, and I alone have the responsibility to guide and nurture it. You could say this will be like raising a child. In his book, “Writing the Breakout Novel,” Donald Maass shares this inspiring passage about voice:

To set your voice free, set your words free. Set your characters free. Most important, set your heart free. It is from the unknowable shadows of your subconscious that your stories will find their drive and from which they will draw their meaning. No one can loan that or teach you that. Your voice is your self in the story.1

Tomorrow, I want to explore identity further. Namely, do we have a hand in crafting our identity, or is it entirely based on external forces? Additionally, how much does your culture influence your personal identity, and is identity culturally transferable? Meaning, will people perceive you the same way in all cultures? I want to explore these complex topics carefully and thoroughly so I might have to separate this into a few posts. In the meantime, I hope you have a magnificent day.

-S-

1. Maass, Donald. Writing the Breakout Novel. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest, 2001. Print.

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