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In a noisy world full of blaring distractions, financial pressures, and success envy, it can be easy to lose the sound of your own voice as a writer. Writer’s Relief explains how to identify obstacles and obfuscators so you can tune back in, hear yourself think, and rediscover your authentic voice.
The Noise In Your Head That’s Drowning You Out
Hissss! The pressure to make money. The stress to succeed financially (aka to write for the market) can make it difficult to know your own mind. Do you want to make craft choices based on what will sell, or based on what feels authentic to your voice? This inner debate can rage so loudly that it drowns out everything else—like your actual creativity.
Kaboom! The explosion of marketing platforms. The rise of social media has empowered authors to take charge of their own promotional efforts. But it can also be a huge distraction. Not only can marketing efforts sidetrack you from actual writing—reader comments can get into your head and under your skin. Learn more about sneaky writing distractions.
Buzz! The broken record replay of reviews. Everybody’s got an opinion (and can easily post it online). Reading reviews of your writing—or listening to critique and feedback—can skew your thoughts about whether your writing is weak or whether it’s in top form. Soon, other people’s opinions will be playing in the background of your brain every time you sit down to write. The noise can be deafening—and can drown out the sound of your own ideas.
Listen Up! Here’s How To Crank Up The Volume On Your Authentic Writing Voice
Get away from it all. Sometimes, the best way to get some quiet is to go after it, maybe even with a suitcase in hand. A few days of solitude can reintroduce you to your core values as a writer—or can force a long overdue confrontation.
Read. If you feel like the spark has gone out of your writing life, reread the books that made you fall in love with expression and storytelling; you’ll find seeds of your writing voice there. Who you were—before insecurities and financial obligations set in—can give you a better sense of who you are and who you want to be.
Stop reading. Okay—before you freak out, we are HUGE believers in the importance of daily reading for writerly inspiration. But some authors have admitted that reading anything when they’re deep into a new manuscript can mess up their own writing. What we read influences us—but it can also distract us from the sound of our own voices. Every once in a while, it may be helpful to put down that book when you’re ready to pick up a pen.
Don’t overthink. Deep down, you know what you want to write. When you catch yourself thinking too much—hesitating, hemming and hawing, second-guessing your own choices—push doubt to the side and deal with it later. Focus first on writing whatever lights you up, gets your heart racing, and makes you happy. Doubt is for second drafts—that’s what editing is for!
Tune out. Minimize your social media interactions, resist the urge to read reviews, take a hiatus from your critique group, and give yourself permission to ignore anything anyone else says about your writing. Though you may not feel immediate liberation (after all, the sound of other people’s feedback will take some time to fade from your mind), you may find that hitting the mute button on everyone else will serve to amplify your own voice like a megaphone.
Question: In your opinion as a writer, what makes it hardest to hear your own voice?