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On Finding My Voice

How I am finding my voice

Carmal Bird is an Australian writer whose book ‘Writing the story of your life’ is pretty great . And I just finished reading it last night. Following are some excerpts from her book that I fell in love with, that I must share with you. She says ..

Music and Confidence

You will sometimes hear critics, reviewers, teachers speak of a writer ‘finding his voice’. This is a rather curious expression. … ‘You must find your voice’ say some of  the teachers of creative writing. And I always think if our little cat who was not nurtured by her mother and hence very was vulnerable and dumb. One day she was accidentally locked outside on a high balcony, we looked everywhere until she was able to summon a funny little squeak and we were able to save her. She retained that squeak from then on throughout her life. It was her only voice, quite literally, because she needed it to save her life.

But as for writers ‘finding their voice’ I prefer to think about them discovering their confidence, developing their style, having the courage to run with the rhythms inside themselves, playing the music of their words. Instead of ‘voice’, I call it ‘personality’. Its is the writer’s fingerprint, the identifying hum of that particular writer. It is the writer’s style. It seems to me when people talk about a writer ‘finding’ a voice, they are succumbing to a philosophy that nothing has to be really worked for, where everything is lying around already, waiting to be found. Voice is found object. Developing a writing style usually requires a lot of hard work.

Good and enagaging prose has a rythym. It has a music of its own. Its has a personality. It sets up an echo in the mind of the reader. Yes it has a voice. It has a style that the writer has developed. You can develop your voice, but as for finding, I dont really think that is right.

A big thanks to you Ms Bird for saying it so beautifully.