When I write for other clients, I have to find their “voice”. It’s part of projecting their brand, their product, their need. It takes more than a bit of practice to achieve this, especially if you’re used to only really writing for yourself.
I have 3 unfinished, unpublished drafts of blog posts in A Pensieve View because lately the struggle has been finding my own voice again.
For the first time in a long time, I’ve been struggling to write for me. Another writer that I follow is adamant that we (writers) should write every day. But I’ve been in a big ol’ funk and just haven’t. Maybe it’s that I know he’s right, but I’m just that stubborn. Maybe I was that tired. That depressed.
Maybe it’s that I didn’t really subscribe to that philosophy of writing every day no matter what. But I do now. Because I haven’t been writing. Not much. And it’s starting to really show.
As I’ve gradually clawed my way out of the mood cloud that’s been hanging over me the entire month of May, I took some days off from work, got an unexpected yet blessed reprieve from my side writing gig, and have taken the opportunity to just focus my energy on trying to restore my soul a little bit.
Some of that has come from simple rest. Sleep. Something that I’ve cut entirely too short for the last few months. Physical rest has been sorely needed for my body, and my brain has benefited more than I can say.
I also took to my home away from home, Mobile, AL, this weekend and did very little except drink coffee and wine, eat comfort food, and talk to a kindred spirit.
But there’s been more to the remedy than just rest and a change of scenery.
For the last week and a half, I’ve been reading more than I have in a while and listening to some great podcasts. The best way I know to find my own voice again is to soak up the voices of other writers and artists. It’s a kind of artistic CPR. It seems to give me new breath, and a revival of spirit.
I find it interesting (if not ironic) that everything I’m reading or listening to has a good bit of tragedy in it. One would think that wouldn’t be the best way to dig out of a depressive state. But that’s why the rest is such an important component of “getting my groove back”, so to speak. When my body and mind are rested, even if I’ve been in a pit, I can start to appreciate the art of writing again, no matter what form it takes or what the overall subject matter may be.
It’s such a strange process, but one I’m starting to see as a repetitive pattern.
My writing life requires balance. Like every other part of my life, finding that balance is both hard and frustrating. But the more deeply I delve into the artistic side of myself, the more I see that it’s the one part that I really need to just stop being so……controlling of, and just go back to what my mentor tells me all the time. Just create. Just write. And, more specifically, to do so every day. Even if, and especially when, I don’t feel like it.
So in all this reflection I discovered something. My voice never went anywhere after all…..I just wasn’t using it. I was scared to use it. I let fear control the part of me that I usually feel most aligned with – the artist – and the result was silence.
In many ways, it all comes back to that restriction I have, that self-censorship, the need I feel to keep some things private or just not post publicly. It’s a conundrum, because the healing I get from writing is also in the sharing of that writing with you, the reader.
When I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t share something, I feel frustrated. Especially if what I want to share are very raw, yet important aspects of who I am.
I will also say that writing for money, at least how I’ve done it thus far, has been not as good as I want it to be. The grant writing I love. It feels like it makes a difference. Goes to good things. The other stuff……it just pays my internet bill and keeps something in my business account. Which isn’t nothing, but it’s tedious and time consuming and not fulfilling.
So I keep looking for better gigs. Steady gigs. Things that will do the same thing yet not exhaust me to the point that I become overloaded and lack the desire to creatively write here or work on projects that are close to my heart.
My grandmother asked me recently, “What kind of writing do you really want to do?”
Simply put: the kind that matters. My mentor and I have a difference of opinion on this and maybe it just goes back to some of my own unhealthy psychological habits. But here’s the crux of it: My writing already matters to me. I want it to matter to others.
Whether or not I should feel that way is irrelevant because I do feel that way and it comes from a place inside that I can’t really describe or understand. And for those who know how analytical I can be, you should know I’ve examined the reason why I might want my writing to matter to anyone else. I’ve examined it repeatedly. I just don’t know.
I just know this:
Finding my writer’s voice again has meant listening to a smaller, quiet inner voice that guides this aspect of who I am and directs it onto the right path.
I have known for a while what kind of path that looks like, and recently I think I had the revelation I’ve been waiting for. Now it is time to start working on it.
I think I needed this recent trip into introspection, rest, and yes, even melancholy, to arrive at my eventual conclusion.
So, that being said, I’m launching a project. I had this idea a while back, but only recently have I finally felt like it started to take some shape in my mind. I have high hopes for this project. I think it’s what I’ve been waiting to do, maybe even what I am meant to do. At least for this season of my writing life.
My writer’s voice is ready to speak again. In a new and different, yet familiar way.
I’m not trying to be cryptic, I’m just not ready to announce specifics. May not be ready for a while. But I’m feeling some oxygen starting to stir around that ember that’s been only flickering lately. And I’m really excited to watch it catch fire.