How to Find Your Voice
The word “voice” has a more profound definition alongside the one that indicates the particular range and pitch that your vocal chords produce. Your voice is made up by all the creative choices you make in expressing yourself, whether in writing, verbal storytelling, painting or composing lyrics. Strong voices help humanity grow as a whole by pointing out beauty, humor, problems, solutions and ways to the future.
While anyone can achieve a strong voice, most people aren’t born with one. Whether you want to improve yours, or find it in the first place, these exercises are designed to help.
- Record your thoughts and observations every day. Jot down notes about anything that catches and holds your attention. Ask why it intrigues you. How can you engage with it? Does it raise questions in your mind? Can you come up with answers to those questions or will you have to go looking for them? Recording your thoughts is really exploring your thoughts. You never know what you’ll find until you look!
- Write down your experiences. They say that truth is stranger than fiction — indeed, it is. Your experiences shape you as you go through them, but you’ll learn even more from them by putting them to paper. Written accounts of your experiences can be returned to over and over, and viewed anew through the ever-evolving lens of your newer experiences. Returning to these memories will help you identify patterns in your own behavior as well as in life in general. You can use this knowledge to make better choices and guide others to do the same.
- Write a letter. One of the best ways to get to know someone is to exchange letters. Unlike conversation or text messages, letters allow you the time to digest someone else’s thoughts and carefully sculpt your response. For example, in a conversation, you may express a knee-jerk reaction that you disapprove of later. When responding to a letter, however, you can draft and redraft over the course of days, sharing only the worthiest of your thoughts.
- Record family history. Every family has at least one avid storyteller. Most have quite a few. Your family members are probably all too willing to verbally relate the significant experiences in their lives. However, many people don’t ever think to write down their stories, for themselves or future generations. Recording family stories will help you understand where you come from and may shed light on where you’re going. Further, choosing and arranging words to correctly preserve someone else’s history will serve to heighten the skill with which you record your own.
- Write an essay. Forget any negative associations with the word “essay” you may have from years of writing about school topics you had little interest in. Writing an essay is exciting because it helps you to think comprehensively about any subject you want. Is something on your mind all the time? Spill all your various thoughts regarding the topic onto paper, then look for the ways they relate. Slowly, as you sort the thoughts into the most logical arrangement, conclusions will begin to reveal themselves. Before you know it, you’ll have a more thorough essay than you ever wrote for a school assignment!
As you practice these forms of writing, you’ll grow more confident in which ideas, thoughts and experiences are important to you and why. The inside of your mind will begin to feel less like a messy room and more like a perfectly-organized library! You’ll know exactly what you want to express and just how to do so.