Jul 31, 2009

Finding My Voice

By Kristine John

I thought I would share a few questions I have in my mind that I mull over from time to time.

*I know I am a writer, and I write periodically, but "my story" still hasn't manifested itself. Does that mean that I do not have a particular story to write?

*I recognize my words have power. How do I best use them to bless the lives of others, as well as fill the desire I have within myself to write "something" meaningful? Is it selfish to want to do more with my words than write heartfelt thank you notes and letters of appreciation?

*Outside of ANWA, is there anything in particular that you feel has truly helped you to discover your voice and pinpoint the things you desire to write about?

*How do you create a balance between your love of writing and your love of other things?

*What has helped you to find your voice?


  1. This is strictly my opinion, mind you, but I think the only way to find your voice is to write. Write whether you feel "inspired" to or not. Write whether you think you've "found your story" or not. Just write. Write write write write write. If I waited until I felt inspired to sit down and write, I'd never write a word. If I waited until I knew where my story was headed, I'd never write it either. I've had very personal experience with that last one over this past month. I was afraid to write because I couldn't figure out how to make my story work. I wanted to know how it would work BEFORE I tried to write it....therefore, I kept hashing ideas out in my head without actually writing, and nothing in my head quite seemed to work. Finally I told myself this week, "It doesn't matter where your story is going, just sit down and write SOMETHING on it, whether it makes any sense or not." And once I took that scary plunge, the story began to unfold before me. But I had to take the leap of faith by engaging in the "act of writing", rather than just thinking myself numb about it. I know you're not writing a novel. I understand that you don't know what "your story" is yet. But until you sit down and just start banging out words and see where they take you, you'll never find your story or your voice. (Joyce's two-cents on the subject, for whatever they're worth. ;-) )

  2. I dunno Kristine. There are so many aspects to writing it's hard to put a finger on it. I'm a technical writer trying to find a fiction voice. So far not so good. So I'm wondering myself are you only a certain kind of writer?

  3. A lot has been said about a writer's own "voice." I'm not sure there is such a thing to begin with. Or ever actually can be. Sometimes I think "voice" is what critique experts use to describe what there is no other word that comes to mind.

    Think about it. Do you have only one speaking voice? Or do you sing on the same single pitch? Are there days when laryngitis sets in and your voice entirely disappears? Do you really think you'll never have a voice again?

    You've had lots of good advice. Just write.

    Now, I was never a great athlete, or even good enough to be called mediocre. I did learn to swim and to ride a bike, and could walk for hours on end, but that was the gist of it. I had little or no control over a ball of any kind, and skates, either ice or roller, left me with bruises and scraped knees. I'm scared to death to ski, snorkel or even dive. Then I discovered I could pitch a basketball (not gracefully,but with a squat and shove) toward a hoop and have it go through. Well, not all the time, but enough to be encouraging. So when, in the wake of my son and granddaughter, I was being escorted through the United States Supreme Court building according to Sandra Day O'Connor's instructions to her aide, in the upstairs gymnasium I picked up a stray basketball and tossed it through the hoop. My son saw, and was surprised. I felt a small surge of pride, and let well enough alone.

    Now, if my greatest claim to fame is pitching that ball through that hoop in that particular gym, I haven't much to brag about, but nevertheless, it's my athletic "voice." And it's fine with me.

  4. When my children were young, I was alot like you. I'd never finished a project. Then I was called as RS President and after a drama-filled year among the women, I decided to re-script what I wished had happened with my characters twisted from the originals and finished my first manuscript. It didn't sell but it was cathartic.

    Later, at a writer's conference a man said to me, take the must poignant, upsetting, thrilling or embarrassing moment of your life. Now create a different character who goes through a similar circumstance and through that experience grows into something more. That's the heart of any great story.

    One you have a character you love and a conflict that thrills you, the story will write itself- sort of. At least, its a lot easier.


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