Finding My Voice
Last spring I signed up for a course that was designed to help find my voice as a writer--the thing that sets me apart from other writers. Over the course of several weeks I walked through steps and practices, heard some great advice, and in the end I was really happy. I became a stronger writer...
...but something unexpected happened as well — I reconnected with myself.
I’m a relationship person. I love spending time with others, getting to know them, and helping when I can. I’ve spent countless afternoons, hundreds of phone calls, and who knows how many emails getting to know other people. However, up until last spring I didn’t take much time to get to know myself. That may sound silly. You might be thinking (like I would have before this happened) that it would be hard not to know who I am. I’m me.
I know my favorite food, favorite colors, and how I like my eggs cooked. But when I sat in the class and the teacher started asking about how my friends and family saw me, and what they would say is my field of expertise, I realized that I’ve never asked anyone before. I could take my best guess, but I really didn’t know.
When the teacher asked me to take a closer look at my qualifications, I realized that I’d forgotten a lot about my past that’s made me who I am today.
And when my teacher asked me to list my dreams, far-fetched as they may seem and from as far back as I can remember, I was reminded of silly things I grew up wanting, and I saw how cool it was that some of my dreams had already been fulfilled.
However, my present dreams were scattered and unclear, clouded by past failures and busy schedules. As a result, I lacked direction and it reflected in my writing. While I’d made a point to get to know people around me, to remember things about them and to help them, I wasn’t doing those things for myself. The deeper into the class I got, the more I realized how disconnected I was with myself.
In the hustle of life I’d lost my voice.
That ended in March. Along with what my teacher asked me to do, I asked myself even more questions, and dug in further. I reflected on who I am, who God made me to be, and I set some new goals.
If you’re feeling like you've lost your voice, too, here are a few things you can do to reconnect with yourself:
- Ask your peers what types of advice they would seek from you. I was nervous to do this, but it was so rewarding, and even surprising. My “field of expertise” was much broader than I’d given myself credit for. Whether it was parenting, running, writing, or apologetics, my list grew more than I could have imagined.
- Make lists. Write down your dreams for the future, your favorite things, and the things that make your crazy. It may already be things you know, but seeing it in writing helps. It gives you time with yourself to think and reflect on who you are, and who God created you to be, which brings me to the third point...
- Ask God. Dig into you Bible, pray, and expect an answer. God created you; he knows everything about you, and loves you deeply. If you ask, he will reveal truths, not only about who you are, but what he set you apart for.
I’m glad I took the time to get to know myself again. Since then I’ve been more focused on what I want as a writer, but also who I want to be as a parent, spouse, and much more. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know others. It’s a good thing, but you should also pay attention to yourself. Set aside a few minutes a day to do the things listed, and throw in a few exercises of your own, and you’ll find your voice.
Are there other ways you would recommend to find more about yourself? I’d love to hear other suggestions!