My intro to writing professor in college led us through a curriculum on ‘finding your voice’. It all made sense at the time – it’s what your words sound like on paper, it’s your style, your rhythm. I get that.
What I have always had a hard time figuring out, however, is how to pick out MY voice from the myriad of voices that are in my head.
I’m not schizo; I’m a good imitator. I can pick out a person’s tone, cadence, inflection, etc… and will alter how to speak to better resemble that person. It’s automatic and it helps me connect with people; it’s really a nice talent to have.
The problem is that I can can easily start to dislike my own voice.
I’m not sure if this is all made worse because I was never really a cool kid. People generally liked me (and I assume still do), but simple comparisons to other people who I thought were better than me made me disappointed with who I was.
Oprah session aside, I think I’ve mostly come to terms with who I am. In fact, I would like to think that I am happy with who I am. This doesn’t stop my super-competitive side, however, from constantly comparing myself to everyone else to measure how well I’m doing. If I think that someone else’s voice is funnier, smarter, more like-able than mine, I’m tempted to copy it.
And, like we found out earlier, I’m good at copying voices.
A few years ago, I started a sarcastic blog inspired by the hilarious dude at Tremendous News. All three people who read it (thanks Mom) liked what I wrote.
(I don’t know why I put this image here, but I know Tremendous News would have)
I only posted 2 articles.
That’s the problem with imitation – it drains you. When you are intentionally trying to be someone else, you have to think like they think; be motivated by the things which motivate them; and create like they create. That’s just not fun…
…and writing should be fun.
Writing should allow you to create something new.
Something that is your own.
Something that sounds like you.
I don’t know if I’ve really found my voice, but I definitely feel like I’m much closer to it.