20/20 – Day 2: 20 ways to find your own voice

“I am not saying that I have completely found my voice. I see it more as a journey. We are all on the same path. Some of us are further along than others. The important factor is to be consistent and keep writing. You will run into frustrations for the rest of your life, so keep your eyes on the long-term.” – Henri Junttila writing on kikolani.com

For all the help out there, most advice is on the right way of doing something, or the best way of succeeding.  But that help can also bog you down so you stop listening to yourself.

For instance, these 20 lists of 20 that I’m writing will not be to the liking of some writers who dislike list articles and suggest it’s not a good way forward.

But if I had listened to that advice, I wouldn’t be publishing 20 blog posts and I’d miss out on offering some of this advice.  On the other hand, if I listened to that advice, I’d then be ignoring the people who heartily encourage list articles.

Advice is something you can choose to listen to or ignore.  It’s advice, not an order.  Take in the advice you want, stir it all up, add your own ideas, and do what makes you feel comfortable.  Here are some ways to go about finding the magic:

  1. Stop caring about others. They don’t matter when you’re searching for what makes you tick.
  2. Don’t try to emulate someone else. It’s a trap. You want to catch a style that you like, which means you stop developing your own style.
  3. Enjoy the process. It’s not meant to be a chore. The search is meant to create excitement and give you all sorts of positivity for the future.
  4. Experiment. Take chances, be playful. If you don’t, you can’t surprise yourself and you’ll get nowhere.
  5. If feasible, publish your output in a blog or similar. Public output helps focus what you’re doing. It doesn’t always work, but it can be the kick you need.
  6. Don’t expect anything. You won’t know what to expect until you find it. It can take years before you’re satisfied that your own voice can be heard.  I’m sure many never find it.  At least you’re looking, which is a major start. Just let the process grow organically.
  7. Stop taking it personally. You are you. That’s a good thing.
  8. Don’t hide behind a front. No matter how comfortable you feel putting on a front, it’s still not you.  If you’re serious about finding the true you, throw the fake attitude away.  The moment you hide is the moment you’ll stop being heard at your best.
  9. Devour more from other people.  How does it make you feel? You can only develop a unique voice when you listen to other voices.
  10. Keep going. Persevere.
  11. Acknowledge that even original work may not be your true voice. There’s a difference between you being you and you being original.  If all you crave is originality, you don’t need to take such a wild journey.
  12. Write on different topics. Who knows what you’ll stumble upon?
  13. Use different styles. Same reason as above.
  14. Be prepared to throw away a lot of material. Whether you write, paint, or sculpt, you’re on a learning curve.  That said, you don’t need to actually throw stuff away.  A lot of it will probably be useful even if it’s not ‘your voice‘!
  15. Ask “What do I want to use my voice for?”
  16. Finding your voice is about more than confident writing, success and original output.  You can find success and create amazing works without catching the intensely personal spark of ‘voice’. ‘Voice’ is an ambiguous term, so be careful to know what you want here.  Do you crave something more personal? Like, really crave it? If that’s not the point, you might as well focus on more important things.
  17. Don’t stop searching until you’re totally satisfied. For some, it means finding what works and striving to give it even more clarity and zest.
  18. Don’t stop once you are satisfied. You’ve found what works, you’ve developed to a tee, now there’s nothing more to do, right?  Wrong. There’s always something to do. If you drop your guard and work to old standards, you’re working to formula.  At some point in time, you’ll be pushing out content that you don’t even believe in and you won’t even notice. Unless you don’t care at that stage, stay on your toes.
  19. Don’t feel constrained.  If you only need to make 19 points, don’t feel the need to make 20.
  20. Meh.

Okay, I’ll give you a Point 20. Because I want to:

  • Don’t listen to any of the advice I’ve given above. Finding your own voice is your job. You may find it when you least expect it, with the help of nobody but yourself. Happy searching!

Title image: original by tiffa130 (cc)  /  Bottom image: original by G|o®g|O (cc)