In regards to writing, what is Voice? Is it the way we converse with each other or our internal dialogue (thought)?
Is it both? Is it neither? Is it style—the way a writer strings words together?
Voice is deeper. Voice incorporates who we are—our fears, desires, beliefs, and experiences.
Voice is a writer’s emotional thoughts and responses to stimuli developed over a lifetime. Thereby, writing Voice is infused into the words used and the themes chosen. Over time, Voice gives readers a glimpse into who a writer is.
If you are a new writer, you may believe that your first novel is worthy of publication. I too believed this to be true. And there are some who are gifted with words naturally, but with most writers, finding your Voice takes time, like traditional publication. I once read somewhere that a writer won’t truly find their Voice until they’ve written a million words—that’s ten 100,000 word novels. I tend to agree.
I can best compare finding my Voice to riding a bike:
I learned how to ride a bike at the age of four. With training wheels attached, my tires ate up the sidewalk. Then the training wheels were removed. With knees, palms, and elbows scraped, scabbed over, and scarred, I once again became a reckless force on wheels. Years later I learned how to maneuver gears, to enhance my mountain biking experience, until pedaling and shifting were natural, without thought and only action. Then finally, I became proficient enough to enter several races.
You see, to become proficient enough to compete with professionals, I needed to develop my riding skills through brute force and determination and time. I fell, but I picked myself up and began again. Not fresh, but battered and determined to succeed. Changed. And open to continual advances. Further development.
The more we practice our writing, like developing skeletal muscles, we train our brains to get better and faster with words infused with the results and opinions of our experiences until they spill from our minds organically.
So if you feel like you’re struggling to find your Voice, remember the words of Lance Armstrong:
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. Lance Armstrong, It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
Stick with writing long enough to develop You. Endure the pain and struggles of life, form opinions, take a stand, fall, change, and you, too, will be able discover the other side of “something else.” You will discover your true Voice.