A lot of beginning writers wonder if they’ll ever discover their “voice.” I surely thought the same when I began my writing career. “Will I ever find my writing voice?” I asked myself. “All the great writers have it. I wonder how they got it?”
As I was taking a streetcar downtown last night, it occurred to me that what I was observing was different from everyone else’s observation on the streetcar. I’ve known about seeing things from a different perspective since I was a young boy, but somehow it really sunk in last night.
From where I was sitting, I could see what was going on in front of me. But a person sitting in the opposite direction or sitting across from me or standing up was observing a different scene altogether.
It struck me that we humans see only a part of what’s going on (a part of reality, a part of the truth), we never see ALL of what’s going on. Because of our varied experiences, because of where we sit, stand, live, who we know, how we were brought up, what we read, because of all these factors and many, many more, we can’t help but see things differently than other people.
What does this mean for beginning writers? It means that every human being is unique, and if a beginning writer is willing to write what he observes, thinks, feels, imagines, a distinct voice will emerge onto the page. So don’t worry about discovering your own voice–it’s already there. All you need is the willpower to write, to keep on writing and publish it for the world to read.
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