So, I’ve found my Voice, and it’s still with me. It’s changing, but still there. And last week I talked about the things that became less complicated as a result of my newfound Voice. This week, I want to delve into the things that seem more complicated.
In general, writing is complicated. Very. Everything is connected, so everything must be in balance – all the major pieces that go into a novel must balance each other out, plus everything within those pieces must balance. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle made out of a zillion scales, all depending on each other to create the big picture. Complicated. Voice is no different, in that it’s just as complicated as all the other pieces. In finding my Voice, I’ve learned the pieces that need to balance within Voice. I.E., *how* it’s complicated .
I’ve always said that I’m not an interesting person. I’m not, really. When I walk into a room, no one notices. When I speak, not many hear me. I don’t command attention. I blend into the woodwork really well. And yet...if I were really so uninteresting, I wouldn’t have any friends. But I *do* have friends, so there must be something in me that sparks a connection with others.
This is where my Voice was hiding – the interesting and unique parts of me. The things I think but don’t say aloud, except to my closest friends. And they are unique to me, because we all have our own way of saying things. Just as we, writers, have our own way of telling a story. That is our Voice, and that is why no story can be told the same way twice.
My Voice lends originality to my stories. If my friends hear of something I’ve said, they can usually guess I’ve said it before they’ve been told. If someone else tells them the same story, it’s not the same. The idea and events may be the same, but the flavor is different.
Caroline Meckler said it well when she said all writing has Voice. It may not be the right Voice, so we have to keep searching until we find it. Once we do, then what? I’ve finally found the right Voice for my work, but hanging on to it is sometimes difficult. It’s like walking an overgrown, narrow path, with my more familiar paths within sight. It’s easy to drift toward those familiar paths, then realize I’ve gotten lost and have to find my way back.
Finding your Voice is only the first step. You also need to learn how to keep it, then use it to its full potential. Knowing your Voice, where it comes from, and how to use it are what make your story strong and marketable.
Succeeding as a writer comes from a similar place – it’s not about the story I tell, it’s how I tell it. And, the pieces of myself that I put into it are what make it truly unique. All of this is related to Voice. The pieces of myself that I choose to share, to weave into my story, will be saturated with my Voice. How could they not? They come from me. Deep within me. Those are the most powerful stories a writer can tell, and that power can be harnessed through your Voice.
This is strongly connected to Write What You Know. I said in an earlier blog post that I believed writing what you know comes from your heart and experiences. I believe that even more now. The more you know and understand yourself, the more you’ll have to share in your stories. And your Voice can harness this, hand the reigns to the reader, then take them on a wild ride.
That said, knowing and understanding yourself is probably the most complicated thing ever.