“Life has its rhythm ad we have ours. They’re designed to coexist in harmony, so that when we do what is ours to do and otherwise let life be, we garner acceptance and serenity.”
I like the idea of the voice in writing. It’s not an original idea, but while writing about it, I begin to embrace and understand the concept in a new way, so for me, it becomes original. I once said, “There are no new thoughts, only independent ones.”
My writing is independent. My thoughts are mine. Perhaps, most likely, someone, somewhere had the same thoughts and ideas, but I have come by all mine honestly, by learning them for myself. These thoughts, ideas, and feelings become part of my voice.
As I said, I like the idea of voice, and of finding my own voice as a writer. When I was in high school, I was in the choir. I really had no business being there. I wasn’t a particularly great singer. I can carry a tune halfway well if I’m in the right frame of mind and my voice is warmed up, but I doubt I’ll ever win a Grammy. My biggest problem in choir was the same problem I had in many of my classes in high school and college – I didn’t give it my best. I was more interested in talking and being social than in learning how to sing well. Still, I managed to learn a few things. I learned how to hit notes by myself. I learned the joy of hearing 40 voices all singing differently yet in harmony. But I still had to learn my own piece. I had to find my own voice.
Writing is the same thing. I have to find my own piece and my own peace. I have to find my own voice. Finding my own voice does two things:
· I can sing alone and I can write alone. I don’t have to be overwhelmed in bookstores. I don’t have to be afraid of “the competition.” In fact, I can ignore it altogether. If I concentrate on my own voice, learn it well and deliver it well, that is all that is required. The only person who I am responsible for in reaching my Purpose is me. Let others do what they will and say what they will. I am answerable only for my own work. If I do my work poorly, well, or not at all, then I am answerable for that, too.
· I can be in harmony with the infinite number of writers already published. In fact, harmony depends on other voices. I can’t be in harmony alone; it requires at least one other voice. This makes bookstores fun. I can choose who I will be in harmony with and whom I can contrast with. I don’t have to sing with everyone. I don’t have to sing or even like every song. I don’t have to read every book published. I just have to find the right ones. There are no wrong choices, just different ones. And I’m not necessarily missing anything either if I don’t read everything. I do what I can. I learn what I can. But I need the work of others. I need to read. In order to write well, I need to read well. I need to hear other voices.
I find my own piece and my own peace by being myself. What does it mean to be myself as a writer? It means expressing myself honestly, without fear and without pretension. This is not an immediate process, but the more I write, the closer I get. So I have to keep writing. I have to keep reading. Then what I find, as I read and write, is that I discover new ideas, ideas that ring true in my soul.
Again, this is not immediate. I have to get past trying to be like other writers or instantly agreeing with everything every writer says. I also have to be careful not to instantly reject everything someone says. Too much obeisance or acquiescence is usually caused by not knowing my own mind.
Once more, this is not an immediate process. Paradoxically, at the same time, as I read and write, I have already found my voice. It may be immature and undeveloped and in need of training, but it is still my voice. I will be learning and developing my whole life. There’s no point in being impatient with the process, hoping that I will one day “arrive” at all the answers to life’s questions. That’s not my goal. My goal is to be in my Purpose, which in my case means to keep reading and keep writing. My goal is to Get Started and to Keep Going…and find my voice.