Being Raw and Finding Your Voice.
While in college for creative writing… One big thing that I feel wasn’t discussed enough was how to come across as vulnerable and raw; how to create a piece of writing that could move people. I think that this translates largely into you as a writer finding your voice.
It can be incredibly difficult to find your voice because it can be uncomfortable, just like being vulnerable or raw in a public space such as sharing a really personal piece at an open mic night, on social media or even let’s say, in a book. There are a lot of us who are afraid of what that vulnerability will look like and how it will be perceived by others. The process is something very internal and personal even if you are trying to find it so that you can be a writer… Using it for creating work that readers will relate to and desire (external reasons.)
I have been writing for so many years and yet there have been many times where I have not really known what my voice was or what it sounded like; sometimes it has changed due to life, etc, which would leave me feeling lost. I would try to write that “very raw piece” or the “very vulnerable and almost naked” blog post about myself and my feelings, etc… And it just didn’t end well. You can tell. You, yourself, are able to see when your voice is there and when it is lacking. This is not to be confused with something like imposter syndrome… Although, I believe the feeling is very similar.
So what can we do to create poetry and other works of writing that are raw and vulnerable? How can we find our voice or find it again after “losing” it? How can we Hook people in and cause them to be moved? Writers who write for themselves, still want to touch people. I don’t think I have ever met a writer who didn’t want their work to in some way help, validate, or make someone feel something whether that something be positive or negative. Writers connect through writing! Having your voice is what will help you connect and create that space within your poems, essays, fiction pieces, etc, for people to fall in love (or any other emotion/feeling that you’d like them to feel/experience.)
Here are a few things you can do to find your voice:
- Look within yourself. Why are you writing? What stories do you want to tell? Make a list to remind you when you’re feeling unsure or lost.
- Sit with your feelings. Whether that be in your meditation practice, while you’re lying in bed at night, or while you’re sitting in front of your laptop. I love stream of conscious writing for when I need to sit in my feelings.
- Start writing the things that scare you. Literally. Don’t hold back. The things that you wish you could say/write but are terrified of actually saying/writing… write them. Dig deep.
- Practice. When I started seriously writing I practiced writing in a number of ways including reading out loud to myself so that I could determine what the pieces actually sounded like and how to adjust them to sound like “me.” This also could look like writing everyday which I recommend. It doesn’t matter what kind of writing…. Just write. The more you do it, the more naturally raw and authentic you become.
- Write the bad pieces and don’t apologize for them. I had read this tip somewhere (my brain cannot remember where) but I realized that by accepting that some pieces will not be my best or my favorites and writing them anyways (as well as sharing them) makes you a better writer. Also, sometimes… Those “bad pieces” are your readers favorites!
I hope that these few things help you find your voice (if you haven’t already)! It is such an amazing experience as a writer and a storyteller to find that sweet spot within yourself where you are able to ground yourself; sharing your true and unwavering passion without too much fear or worry of what others are thinking about you or how they might perceive you.