Don’t take this literally. I haven’t lost my speaking voice.
Much to my husband’s disappointment.
This is a post about writing. I haven’t yet found my writing voice.
Or re-found it. I first discovered my writing voice in high school.
Somewhat ironically for someone who became a wordy nerd, English was not my strongest subject. Not until midway through year 11. (Phew! Great timing, huh?) I had a fabulous English teacher in year 11 – someone I feel lucky to call a friend today – and managed to find my own writing style and voice. Something which I discovered came from confidence more than anything else. Confidence that I had something to write about. Confidence that my story was worth telling. Confidence that I could do the topic justice.
Cue top marks in the only compulsory subject throughout the rest of my high school days. I repeat, phew.
But then I went to university. A place with lecturers who mark you down if you don’t write in the style that speaks to them. The style that takes the romance out of learning (if you can find romance in balance sheets and sentence trees*). The style that will get you published in academic journals.
And then I worked in sales (for the longest 16 months of my working life). A career with clients who don’t award you work if you don’t write in the style that speaks to them. Usually plain English with a flair for dramatic overstatements and promises you know you can’t deliver on.
And then I worked in marketing and communications. Which I loved, and still do. But which means I’ve spent my entire career writing in the voices of different brands and organisations.
In some instances, I’ve had the chance to create those voices. But they’re still the voices of brands and organisations. They’re not mine.
So I started this blog. I started it as a hobby, really. Something to do in between nappy changes and Peekaboo, stories and playgroup, feedings and baths. Something to keep me writing when work was slow. Something to keep my brain ticking over.
And I’ve realised I need to find my voice.
I’ve glanced back over my blog, and I’m not sure there’s a single voice emerging. There are a few voices. Some are by-products of organisations I’ve worked for or with. Some are the voices of other bloggers that have seeped into my own writing (you can sometimes tell which blogs I’ve been reading by the tone of my posts). Some are hurried (and harried!). Some are just downright lazy.
I can’t tell which ones are my own voice. Perhaps all, and they’re just the voices of my different moods. Perhaps none.
My search continues. Where art thou, voice?
Do you have a writing style that you ‘own’? How did you develop it?
*I can actually find plenty of romance in sentence trees. Hence my wordy nerdiness. Don’t judge me.