Finding Your Writer's Voice

It’s easy.

“Oh shut up!” you cry as you toss your laptop dramatically to the floor.

Hear me out people.

Recently, I discovered a saying that well and truly struck a chord. Here it is:

“Do the thing, and you shall have the power.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. Pretty smart, aye? And guess what: he was a writer.

Take action

So do it. Get out of your own way and type. Or scribble. Doodle. Do whatever gets those neurons firing up in your brain.

Notice most of my chosen words involve taking action. Action kills doubt and fear so write something, anything. Doubt is the number one killer of all ideas, good or bad. Often the bad ideas are the ones that lead to the great ones. Let them come and reserve judgement. Write anything.

Only yesterday I had a creative brainstorming session with a writer friend of mine to explore a few ideas of a project I am working on. Again, the bottom line was, get writing. By putting your thoughts onto paper you are emptying your head for fresh ideas, releasing that headspace for new realisations and questions. 

Jot down all the little notions in your noggin and see what happens. If you let that little voice in your head get to you, ignore that inner critic that says you can’t possibly write something of value. You’ll never pursue anything, let alone something that leaves you as vulnerable as writing if you listen to it.

Own it

One thing that I think struggled to get to grips with during training, is ownership over your decisions. Your opinion matters. Your story matters. Tell yourself:

“My artistic input is valid.”

Regardless of whether you are a writer or a designer, actress or musician, your creative choices are what make you unique and it is important to remind yourself of that, daily. Try things and see what tastes good, sip on scripts and chew on thoughts that you have jotted down and see what can be excavated and then shared.

By speaking to other writers, performers or even a friend who has some experience in what you’re writing about can be extremely useful. Even talking to friends who have no experience in what I’m writing about. It’s all about diving in, learning and gaining more knowledge about people. Writing is a form of communication. And then, of course, seeing and experiencing anything that makes you jolt if vital. Watch theatre, see films, read papers and then… write.

Always ask yourself questions, always spark more conversation with yourself and others. I can’t help but feel like writing, reading and sharing come hand in hand. And who cares if it’s pants? If you are willing to take ownership of the great stuff you write, you had better be willing to accept the responsibility when you write something… well, crap.

Allow it

This is a somewhat generic piece as I am not talking about writing a particular style. I am merely attempting to muster some momentum in you that gets you doing ‘the thing’ – writing.

Only yesterday I had a session with a writer friend of mine to brainstorm a few ideas. Again, bottom line was, get writing. By putting your thoughts onto paper you are emptying your head for fresh ideas, releasing that headspace for new thoughts.

You can talk as much as you like about your idea to do this or that, but unless you actually put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), I can assure you that nothing will come of it. So talk, yes, just remember to ask people to read it, add bits, cut bits, and keep writing. Allow it to come through you.

Cut the fat

So, we have now decided to:

Write anything – take action.

Own it, it all belongs to you.

Allow it to flow from you.

Then cut the fat.

And I don’t mean chuck what you think are those rubbish ideas in the food recycling bin. Store them in some shiny new Tupperware, and one day when you feel like inspiration has frozen, snowed in during that winter of procrastination, look through it. Some of that fat you thought was useless, may be just what you needed to survive until spring.

Remember: “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.”

When I pitched this article to my editor and I didn’t think I would come to this conclusion, yet here it is:

We all have more than one voice.

There are countless colours to our personalities as human beings, so how can we ever specify one ‘voice’ throughout our writing career? Every interaction or event we go through, big or small, will have a knock on affect to how we feel in that moment. 

My first play was the result of a stream of consciousness after a late night Facebook rampage. I was speaking my thoughts. I feel, and hope, that most people were able to relate to that truth that was pouring out of my being.

By telling yourself you have to do things a specific way, you will inevitably limit yourself. There are probably millions of things we will want to impart with the world over our life time, so why convince yourself that you need to find that one ‘voice’? And right now too, right this bloody second?! Be patient. There is no rush. No better or worse.

Being in the moment and writing from a voice of truth, however, you are feeling, whatever you are thinking, brings you to an admirable place of vulnerability… and that is powerful.

Pippa Moss

Pippa is an actress born and bred in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. After training at Bristol Old Vic she has worked all over the UK and is currently expanding her first play and writing her own comedy stand up show. Born a mover, she loves ballet, juggling, cycling and hitting the surf in Cornwall. She also runs her own business and has plans to travel and change the world…