I Still Don’t Know What Kind of Writer’s Voice I Want to Have
You’re going to sound like your favorite writers sometimes, and that’s okay.
I’ve been writing for over 2 decades.
And yet here I am, having written multiple books worth of life events, and I still don’t know if I like my writer’s voice. It’s changed many times, and I don’t yet know what I want it to be.
When I started my first blog at 16-years-old, I sounded like my Mother, whose blog I read for inspiration. Around the same time, I began journaling and sounded a lot like my Father whose journals I would often read.
Seriously Tom, thank you for helping me gain some momentum, and sorry if I sound like you sometimes.
I hope you both know that means I’m not trying to be weird, I just look up to you a heck of a lot and hope to someday be as successful as you.
I find myself relating to Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ophelia struggles to make decisions for herself. She doesn’t know who she is, continually relying on those around her to know how to behave.
Sometimes it terrifies me, but I still often feel like I have to look to my heroes before making any move.
Then again, sometimes I wonder if I’m not alone in feeling a little bit lost in the vast, unending sea of voices.
I feel like I have to ask to know what to say or do.
I struggle to know that I can break free of whatever mold I think I have to fit.
I try too hard in most articles to be somebody else.
Somebody that I’m not, no matter how much I may look up to them.
There is a truth I’ve learned that helps bring me hope when I think that I sound just like everyone else.
I wasn’t meant to be or write exacly like the people I look up to most, I was meant to be myself, my best self. Including all of the parts of them that I look up to the most.
And that means it’s okay to sound like them, at least a little bit.
After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
For now, I’m okay sounding similar to other writers because I don’t know anything else. But am sincerely trying to learn and find my own voice.
Sure I might feel a little awkward sometimes, but the reality is that I probably don’t sound as much like my favorite writers as I think.
I may deal with all of these feelings of awkwardness and inadequacy, but I’m going to keep writing anyway.
I won’t let any critic get in my way, even my own self-doubt.
At least I am here, in the arena, trying.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt