Reading a recent post from ProBlogger, Talking Funny: What Can Bloggers Learn from Comedians?, got me thinking about the tips that I have gleaned from nearly a year of nights with comedians. Watching them navigate their art has helped me to dissect writing from a new perspective, and to understand the business of being an artist. Here’s one of those lessons:
Finding My Voice
At an open mic last week, two comics were discussing how long it took them to find “their voice”, to understand and become comfortable with who they are on stage. You can tell the difference between the comics who have found their voice and the ones still working on it. When a comic knows who he is on stage, it is easier for the audience to know as well. The voice is consistent, and it makes sense, and the comic is better able to own his jokes.
When you know your voice, it’s easier to know what to say next. It’s easier to present to the audience what you hear in your head. To a comic, this means that his voice on stage sounds like the voice in his head. To a writer, it means that when your audience reads your words, they picture what you pictured writing it.
What I struggle with now is feeling like I have different voices, and not knowing how to pull them all together to create a coherent profile for who I am as a writer. Although I always let a little bit of me seep in, the styles in which I write for this blog, SevenPonds, This Artists’ Life, She Was Named May, and news writing are very different, because the intent of each is very different.
Sometimes I wonder: Am I spreading myself thin? It is necessary, of course, for my style to vary from writing fiction to writing news features, etc, but would I be better off to focus on just one of these categories of writing?
I find myself always flitting back and forth: I dabble in journalism, but I am not fond of objectivity. I love writing fiction, but I yearn to tell the stories of real people. I worry that this variance will leave my audience confused and unsure of what to expect from me–and, consequently, not wanting to come back.
I’m not sure I want to give up any type of writing, because they are all part of the writer I want to be. And, I believe that I can make a career out of the mix. So, I have to figure out how to best present myself to all of my readers and potential clients and editors. I’ve recently made a big decision to bring all of my writing together in this blog, and admitting to the wide spectrum of my writing has helped me to better understand my goals and style.
My writing voice is not solidly fiction, non-fiction, news, or blogging. But it has become solidly what it is, and learning who I am as a news writer, as a short story author, as a blogger is helping me to better present to my readers the words that I see in my head.
Do you feel like you have found your voice, or are you still searching? What has helped to guide you?
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