Over the past couple days, i’ve been thinking about what it means to have your own voice displayed in your writing. We’ve all heard this idea over and over agin about letting yourself show through your writing, letting your personality become part your essay, creating a piece that is original and true to yourself.
But how does that work?
Is it true that since i got A’s and B’s on my papers in high school that my teachers could see my voice? If so, they were seeing something that i was missing. I never sat down to write a paper with almost any other goal then a high grade. What that meant to me was to adhere to what became the default voice of a strong paper. It wasn’t my voice though. It was a voice that i had practiced over and over again that had become monotonous and rigid., but it was the voice that i could use to get an A. What was my motivation to find something creative? I’ll take a stab and say that in high school the majority of students rarely care more about finding their voice than they care about seeing a solid A written on their paper.
How important can it be?
Once i defaulted to the voice that was in my papers, i thought it meant that i’d found my voice, but it was so much like the other voices of the students in my class. The problem is that this sense of uniformity with other writers creates a lack of identity and a lack of creativity in your writing. At least that was my case. Finding my voice continues to be my greatest struggle in writing. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that this was a common struggle for any student who seriously wants to improve their writing. But after we’ve identified the problem how do we find the answer? It’s great reading articles about the 5 easy steps to finding your voice, or the story of how some great writer unleashed their creativity and wroet a masterpiece, but it doesn’t seem that easy to me.
I’d like to be able to find my voice so that i can help my students find their voices. Their actual voices. Not the default scholarly voice that i’ve been so familiar with in the past. So i’ll write, and i’ll write, and after that i’ll try and keep writing! Eventually i know that my voice will come through. It might not be the voice that creates a masterpiece, publishes a book, or writes witty tweets that amass thousands of followers, but it’ll be my voice.
And after that, it’d be great to help my students find their voices too.