Find Your Writing Voice Without a Single Keystroke

TSS #17: How to Find Your Writing Voice Without a Single Keystroke

Sep 17, 2022

Read Time: 4 minutes

Would you rather be famous for:

1/ WHAT you write about
    or
2/ HOW your voice sings on the page

Both can be yours.

Because cadence can elevate your category beyond countless wordsmiths fighting for attention. Thus how your voice sings can amplify what you write about.

And the good news is you don’t have to travel far to find your voice…

Dysfunctionally Dating Perfection

In college, I spent a weekend visiting my long-distance girlfriend and her family in Maryland.

Her family and I totally clicked as we broke bread, attended a baseball game and celebrated her graduation from Johns Hopkins University.

The problem was that my girlfriend and I didn’t like each other anymore, so we broke up on the way to the airport.

She claimed some of my parting words were, “I really like your family, but you make me sick.”

I don’t remember spitting that venom.

And I wish I never voiced those twisted thoughts because that ex-girlfriend did nothing wrong.

All she did was tell me how to save our relationship. Over and over, she mentioned how I wasn’t acting like the same person she fell for.

You see, I thought she needed me to be the ideal mate, so I transformed into a fictitious character whenever we were together.

**Oh, my girlfriend’s at my side… time to activate the fake Dave parade!**

So I let her pick the flicks, foods and fights. I aimed to say and do all the right things. I tried to play the role of the perfect hero because I feared I’d lose her if I was anybody else, especially myself.

But I still lost her.

Writer Seeking Single Page of Perfection

For years, I made this same mistake with my writing.

I’d sit down to write, spin a few sentences onto the page, only to immediately erase them. For anything that didn’t get deleted, I’d still end up disappointed because my words read nothing like other famous writers.

I also trunked anything personal because I didn’t want people to see my broken parts.

Instead, I opted to write in the voice I thought readers wanted to hear. I strived to craft POV that would make people view me as perfect.

You and I are creative kin if that sounds like you.

Because the pursuit of perfection compels you to withhold your true writing voice.

It prevents you from letting down your guard and sharing your unique take on this world because the moment your writing displays your irregularities, perfection roars that you can’t or shouldn’t share your uncommons.

The pursuit of perfection doesn’t want readers to see the real you because if you shared your flaws, readers may reject you.

Rejection can be terrifying every time you hit publish. However, you must recognize that rejection is not just a potential reality, but an inevitability.

This inevitable rejection is what held back my true writing voice for years. For far too long, I spoke to the page the same way the young and dumb Dave acted around every girl he dated before the age of 24.

The Rise of Imperfection

My ex-girlfriend moved back to San Diego a couple months after our breakup. We shared the same circle of friends so we started seeing each other at social herdings.

By that point I found peace of mind in our separation and I stopped thinking twice about showing off my abnormalities.

Less than a year later, that ex-girlfriend became my wife.

She signed a marriage contract with this imperfect person. 19 years of wedlock later, she continues to challenge me to be a better husband, father and man. I trust her more than anyone else in this strange world.

I’ve found there’s a lot of freedom in permitting yourself to be imperfect.

Of course, I can’t guarantee you’ll get back together with an ex or write the perfect words when you start acting like your true self, however, I’m confident you’ll get better at letting your voice shine on the page.

I also think you’ll find more satisfaction in your writing. If anything, you’ll attract more people genuinely interested in who you are and what you have to say.

I finally connected with my writing voice when I started accepting and sharing my faults. My voice and I are nowhere near perfect, but we are perfect for each other. That may read odd so let me rephrase it, not to reach perfection, but to be super clear.

You must accept your flawed writing before you can release your true voice.

A Real Reunion

I’d rather be the writer I am than the writer I think readers need me to be.

If we’re on the same page, try these exercises to harness your voice the next time you write:

1. Speak through your keyboard like you’re talking to one person.

• Picture just one human (fan, friend, family, colleague) and let your thoughts roll off your fingertips.
• A single soul approach may focus your creative spirit.

2. Expose yourself. (Keep your clothes on but integrate something personal into your writing.)

• Opening up to readers guarantees you’re showcasing your true self.
Stories about malfunctioning pants and birthday breakups with girlfriends helped me better connect with you (as opposed to positioning myself as a perfect know-it-all).

3. Get selfish and write for yourself.

• Did you ever keep a journal or diary? Weren’t you more open to documenting how you really felt when you knew nobody was looking?
• Do that again because it may help you get back to writing in the way you were always meant to express yourself. Then if you’re feeling brave about the thoughts you transcribed, publish those words somewhere, anywhere.

Writing Happily Ever After

Readers will probably dislike your writing if you try to please them with perfection.

You have your current friends because they enjoy who you are and how you communicate, so don’t try and be someone else between the lines.

Straight up, you don’t need to find your writing voice or spend years honing it. You just need to start releasing the imperfect one you already possess.

That imperfect writing voice will change over time, but that’s true for everything in life. My mouthpiece today is nothing like the high-pitches I cracked 30 years ago and that’s a blessing.

Now go bark like the beast you’re meant to be.

That’s it for this Saturday, one creative strategy to help you reach your potential.

If found value in this post, would you please consider sharing it? Maybe you’ll be helping someone create the story they’ve always wanted to write.

See ya next week!

— David

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