So as I’m writing this, I’m listening to John Mayer and I have to say that I just love his voice. My aunt happens to be a major JM fan and got me hooked. Right now I’m thinking of how amazing it is that God gave us such unique voices. There are a few people I can think of–that just hearing the sound of their voice makes me smile. Some voices are comforting to me–my dad, Jeff, Sara, etc. Other voices make me stop and listen. But some voices just make me smile. I love that. 🙂
I’m not crazy about my own voice. I think that’s pretty normal–I hate hearing my voice on voicemail or whatever. Maybe it’s hard for us to know what we really sound like. I don’t know. But in writing, I have to find my voice and learn to like it or change it. Recognizing voice in writing is rather important for writers–and editors. I worked on a book last year and once I finished the edit, the authors thanked me for preserving their voice even through the changes. For an editor, it’s necessary to recognize the author’s voice and hold on to that through the edit. And as for the writer, it’s just as necessary to find your voice and go with it. This might look different in nonfiction and fiction, but I think it’s true for both. I sent Chip a proposal the other day. He had some really helpful insight–basically I reread my proposal and decided I sounded schizophrenic. My voice was all over the place. Some of it just didn’t sound like me, which is okay sometimes. I think it’s fine for people to reach outside where they usually stay and try something new. But knowing your voice, and writing in such a way that the reader recognizes and appreciates your voice, is something that sets you apart–makes you unique. I don’t want to sound like someone else. I want to sound like me. I want my words to be mine, to reflect who I am, not someone else. Maybe this comes easier for some people than others. Probably. Most things seem to work that way. And that’s okay with me.
John Mayer is singing and I’m thinking that it’s so much easier for him. He sings and there it is–his voice, no doubt about it. Writing is a different sort of outlet. But once you’ve found your voice, it can be just as beautiful, just as intense, just as charming, just as humorous–it’s you. On paper.