Tips By Mary Jaksch Have you found your voice yet? I hope not! Because this whole idea of ‘finding’ your voice is pure, well …cow splatter! Why? Because you and I never lost it in the first place! Our writing voice is innate. What do you think? Are we on the same page here? If so, you’ll understand that I’m not going to give you ‘10 Exercises to Help You Find Your Voice.‘ YIKES! There’s so much finding your voice noise out there that it gets confusing and you start to believe that, next to oxygen, finding the right voice is the singular most vital key to your existence. – Gary Korisko I like that quote. A lot. Sometimes, ‘finding your voice’ is described like an excavation project: Your writing voice might be hiding — behind grief, cliché, convention and clutter, which all must be cleared before we can reach it. – Joanne Fedler. There you go. Better book your first therapy session tomorrow – and plan to keep going for the next ten years until you finally unearth your ‘writing voice’… ‘Finding your writing voice’ is like someone teaching you to exhale after you inhale. [Tweet this] Yes, make sure you don’t follow an in-breath with another in-breath. Remember, you must exhale in-between! Ridiculous, isn’t it … If you ask me, I think that all this talk of ‘finding your voice’ is drivel. Pure drivel. And yet there is something we need to consider … and it has impact on how we write. See, we all have a signature style. We express our character structure in words and actions all the time (without being aware of it). Here’s an example (and a minor confession…) When I’m excited about a new idea – which happens a lot – I tend to tell sweeping stories and use animated gestures to make my points. Just recently, I noticed that my friends quietly move the glasses on the dining table out of my reach at certain moments in our conversations. Why? Because they know I tend to sweep drinks off the table when I’m in the grip of excitement. That’s my signature style. What’s yours? Our signature style arises from the patterns that determine our character. What’s YOUR character pattern? Take a look at the list below. Can you recognize yourself in some of these character descriptions? Are you … an introspective Idealist, an idealistic Reformer, a caring Helper, a success-oriented Achiever, a sensitive Individualist, an intense Investigator, a security-oriented Loyalist, a spontaneous Enthusiast, a powerful Challenger, a visionary Enabler, or a reassuring Peacemaker? It can be challenging to pinpoint your own personality. But we can often see quite clearly what doesn’t fit. For example, I’m definitely not an introspective Idealist, an idealistic Reformer, or a security-oriented Loyalist. As to writing style… Your writing style is naturally aligned to your character pattern. [Tweet this] More about that in a moment. What about you? Which of the personality structures above strike a chord? But how does this relate to ‘finding your voice?’ Why losing yourself is more important than finding yourself Let’s switch from writing to dancing for a moment. Have you ever been at a party or a rave where you forgot yourself and just danced freely, completely immersed in the music? It’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? It’s the opposite of dancing self-consciously, wondering what others are thinking about you. When you dance freely, the way you dance expresses exactly who you are – but this only happens if you lose yourself in the act of dancing. The moment you think about what you’re doing, you fall out of your natural signature style and become self-conscious. And your dancing becomes awkward. The process of writing is similar. Our natural writing voice is an expression of who we are. The more we write, the more our natural writing voice appears. [Tweet this] The only way you can upset (and even destroy) this progress is if you try to ‘find your voice.’ Because then you become self-conscious, and your writing becomes forced and awkward. What do you think? Is ‘finding your voice’ as a writer a useful idea, or is it just plain laughable? Let’s have a friendly discussion in the comments.