your voice

via pinterest
When I first began writing for more than the sport of it, I struggled with being content with my voice.  I struggled with more than being content  with my voice, however--I didn't even know my voice!

About a week ago, I had the opportunity of meeting Elizabeth Rose and Bree at a little coffee shop, and one of the topics that came up was that of looking back on our old work.  We were pretty much--all three of us--talking at once and making faces and cringing while clamoring on about past writings and how we rather hated them (and how Jenny and Abigail are so darn good at it).  It was glorious.

It's brought to mind today a bit of a thought for those who are still searching for their writing voice.  I'm not saying in the least that I have my own voice down pat yet, for I don't.  But I do have about a year or so of learning-knowledge and experience up my sleeve, and I think I am getting an elusive grasp of it, so we'll work with that.

Firstly, please accept within yourself that you do not have to sound exactly the other writer next door.  When I first began writing, I wanted to be  Abigail Hartman.  I wanted to have her talent.  I wanted to create something genius.  And time and time again I would pound something out that wasn't quite there (or wasn't even close to there, but we won't go into detail; it mars my elegant speech).  You will never be able to write exactly like The Other Writer Next Door (we'll keep using this term for now).  Yet, even when you think about it, do you really want to write exactly like The Other Writer Next Door... even if you could?  Would you want to be remembered to have written something like so-and-so instead of being remembered for your own beautiful style?

But what is your own style?  This is something I would struggle with.  It's also something very difficult to achieve.  I suppose it's much like searching for a needle in a haystack that doesn't even exist yet.

This is when you... well, you write.  You write whatever comes to mind.  Did you suddenly conjure a ridiculous image while you were washing the dishes?  (Thank you, Ms. Christie, for reminding us of the place best to inspire.)  If so, find your next spare moment and scribble the thought out.  It does not have to be just right.  You are still learning.  And that's okay.

Another thing I would like to point out is that you can--and should--seek inspiration from the Greats and The Other Writer Next Door.  They once started out like yourself.  For example, I know for a fact that Abigail Hartman started writing because of her sister, Jenny (who is a plain word-wizard), and I have a hunch that she once longed intensely to write exactly like her.

Deriving inspiration from the Greats (and The Other Writer Next Door) is sometimes a tricky thing.  You don't wish to snag their voice (which never works properly), nor do you want to walk away with nothing but a still incessant desire to be like them without knowing how.  My advice to you is this: observe them.  Study their words and find out what makes them flow as beautifully as they do.  Read the classics and other thick, cosy books, which will then increase your knowledge almost subconsciously word-wise.  Take care to scour other writing blogs--some may contain valuable advice.

Just write, darlings.  Write like no one is reading ('cause they needn't read it if you don't want them to).  Write and grow.  Read.  Write some more.  Drink in words as if they were they essence of life.  Then write...
and enjoy it.


  1. D'aaw, I love this post, Emily. I somehow missed it on my feed till today, but yeah... I second every single word you said, m'dear! Lovely post - much as I admire Tolkien and Lewis, I know that they have a style all their own which ain't mine... It does not stop me soaking in every word they wrote, and learning from them. But, I couldn't be like them even with their talent and practice. I have found authors who wrote with something of the same flair and style as myself, but always, it comes down to a place where my writing is all my own, - stolen in inspiration and ideas from the Greats (which is legit since they did the we with their Greats too!) But in the end my imagination and pen are my own... And then I long to pray 'I am just a pencil in the hands of God, but it is He that writes'.

    Ooh, and I am jealous that you have met so many of pur blogging writing friends!!! Humph... The score is so uneven :(. I want to meet you all one day!!

  2. Wow. This is the thought you must convey this coming Saturday...Papa

  3. Joy :: "And then I long to pray 'I am just a pencil in the hands of God, and it is He that writes.'" I love that. It's funny how hard it is to actually do, isn't it? Faith and trust are so tough. That's why I am glad it is He who is faithful and not me; I could never be truly faithful if I tried.

    But I think I'm starting to ramble. Anyhow, it was loads of fun meeting Elizabeth and Bree. But I won't go on much, for I know how much you long to meet all of us. I long to meet you, too! Someday, darlin', someday...

    Papa :: Haha, perhaps... ;)