Monday, June 17, 2013

Musing About Voice

Today I'm struggling with my muse.  Have you ever had one of those days when you can't seem to find your writerly voice?  For whatever reason, whether it be stress or tiredness or simple distraction, I think all writer's struggle to hit their writing stride from time to time.

That's one of the reasons why I didn't post a philosophy post over the weekend. My mind was just dead.  For that reason, I'm going to combine my weekend philosophy post with my Monday meeting with my muse.  I'll reflect a little on the issue of voice.

Sometimes I read the works of authors I enjoy and admire, and I wonder how they put their stories on paper.  From time to time, I wish I could replicate their voice, or even just capture the confidence that comes through in their voice.

Still, while it may be wise to study the voice of our favorite authors so we can better understand how they use language to tell their stories, we shouldn't wish to replicate any one writer's voice exactly.

"A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here."
-Quentin Tarantino 

Part of telling that truth is being genuine in your voice.  The way you structure your sentences, the words you choose, are a reflection of who you are.  The parts of the story you emphasize, and the parts you gloss over, reveals a lot about you.  Putting yourself onto the page in that way keeps you excited and connected to your work.

"A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character."
-Daniel Day-Lewis 

If you try to use a voice that is not your own, you will ultimately lose that connection with your work that each writer should have, and your work will suffer for it.  That's why I know that, even when I'm having a brief period of time when I struggle to find my voice, I can't give up.  As a writer, I have to be me.  Otherwise I might as well not do it at all.

So how do you make it past such difficulties when life weighs on you and makes expression difficult?  Keep trying, and believe that with a little effort, you'll hit your stride again.  It's only a matter of time and effort.


  1. Exactly - keep trying and take a break if needed. It will come back.

  2. I just take a big break. But I agree with you on voice. This is a great article.

  3. That is why I write the way I write - it is me.