How to Find Your Writing Voice Today – Even if You’ve Been Shamed for Sharing It

Writing Voice
Photo Credit: ssoosay Flickr via Compfight cc

What does your writing voice sound like?

Do you have one?

You do, even if you haven’t defined it. In this article, you’ll see how to find yours and set it free – even if it’s been silent for years!

You have a writing voice - even if you haven't defined it. Click To Tweet

The Day My Writing Voice Was Silenced

It was the first day of school, my sixth grade year.

Being 12 years old was confusing enough. I wasn’t yet old enough to know everything. I was full of energy. Inside me raged a creative spirit, one that craved expression but feared exposure.

My parents enrolled me into a private Christian school whose motto was “Quality Education in a Christian Atmosphere.” Sounds attractive, right?

Before lunch I went to Bible class. The teacher was a young man named Mr. Ford. He had jet black Devo-style hair. He wore a white short-sleeved dress shirt with a conservative striped red tie.

His smile seemed forced.

When the bell rang, he took control.

“Turn in your Bibles to First Chronicles,” he announced.

I pulled my rumpled Gideon New Testament from my pocket and muttered to myself, “Let’s see if this Bible has Chronicles in it.”

Immediately these words assaulted my ears like the blast of a bullhorn: “YOU BE QUIET!”

I felt dumbfounded.

Above me stood a stern figure who glared so hard at me I thought I’d break. When I showed a sufficient display of shame, Mr. Ford resumed his domination of the rest of the class.

What Happened Next

It’s painful enough being singled out as a bad example in front of all your peers on the first day of school.  If this was such a loving place, I sure as hell couldn’t tell.

Do you know what was worse?

Not one of my classmates asked me if I was okay. Nobody said she was sorry for me. Everybody just seemed relieved it wasn’t him who got shamed.

I was surrounded by a world of people who didn’t care whether I lived or died.

I had no way to process that. So I started protecting myself from further pain. I shut people out, did what I had to do to get by, and dreamed of a day when I would be free of all this.

Don't let past shame keep you quiet. Click To Tweet

They Lied to Me – And to You, Too

Have you ever been shamed by someone?

Has anyone criticized you for being yourself?

Have you shared your dream of being a writer with friends or family and have them say, “That’s a fine hobby, but you need a real job”?

I have.

And it hurts down to the core.

The truth is they lied to you.

  • You can make it as a writer if you satisfy a hunger people feel.
  • Your dreams show you your deepest longings, your hidden talents, and your greatest strengths.
  • Even if you’re wrong, you’re still a valuable human being.

So quit apologizing for who you are. Quit burying the real you under a cloak of propriety. When you’re fake, you’re bland as nursing home food.

Don't apologize for who you are. Click To Tweet

Unlock Your True Writing Voice in 3 Steps

You’ve waited too long to set your voice free.

Here are 3 steps you can take to get started now.

1) Take a personality test.

There are tests online you can take for free. They’ll give you a quick summary of what makes you tick. With this information, you can take off the armor of self-protection you’ve worn all these years.

People will experience shock at first. They’ll also be delighted. They’ll exclaim, “I never knew you were like this!”

Then they’ll hear your writing voice more clearly.

2) Be honest about who you are.

You’re not paid to act. You’ll never be comfortable being fake. Let people experience the real you – gritty, open, and honest.

Don’t be ashamed to have your opinions. Everyone has them. Which would you rather be with? A living celebrity or a wax figure that looks like him or her?

3) Write something scary every time you publish.

We hate being bored, don’t we?

That’s why every good story, movie, and TV show has one element that grabs our attention – CONFLICT.

It’s the difference between eating a spicy meatball sub and a hot dog that tastes like cardboard. The spicy sub might give you heartburn later, but the experience is far more satisfying.

If you want to stand out in this media saturated world of ours, you’ve got to do one thing.

BE EDGY.

Here’s how you can tell if you’re edgy enough.

  • Does your chest tighten a little when you read it?
  • Do you find yourself saying, “I better tone that down a bit”?
  • Would your mother be offended if she read this?

If you can say yes to the first two, you’re on to something.

If your writing doesn't scare you, it will bore your readers. Click To Tweet

Do This Now

  • Write a paragraph summarizing who you are, what you believe, and what you care about.
  • Let the real you shine through in the next post you write.
  • Don’t worry about shocking people. Focus on meeting your reader’s need instead.

When you do this, your writing will be more unique, focused, and powerful.

Will you make the impact you’re here to make? Will you let your true writing voice shine through?

The people you help will be forever grateful.


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4 Comments

  1. Frank, yes I’ve been shamed. It happened my freshman year of college in a creative writing class (of all places). I was made to feel like an idiot in front of the whole class because of a few misplaced commas. For a long time this affected my desire to write. I was afraid.

    Now, having join Tribe Writers, I’m looking forward to getting past that. I like your suggestions here. Well said!

    Phil

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