All throughout my school career I was I encouraged to speak up more often. Every single report home contained something along the lines of “Sophie is a very bright child, but she needs to participate more in class.” I hated answering questions, I hated reading aloud, I hated being made to perform in front of the class. I was far happier blending into the background, doing my own little thing.
It’s funny how things change, and how a little bit of self-confidence can go a long way. Nowadays I definitely have a voice, I’m not afraid to have myself heard. I’m one of the first people to introduce myself to other people when I go to conventions and things like that. Though I’m still a bit wary of large, loud groups, I’m a lot better than I used to be. I’m sure if some of my old teachers could see me now they’d be amazed at just how far I’d come.
That quiet little kid who spent the first month at school not speaking to anyone at all, and who liked to make herself as small and invisible as possible is now almost the polar opposite. Somewhere along the lines I turned into a confident young woman, who is happy to make conversation with anyone I meet, and who is always one of the first up on the dance floor when a good song comes on, no matter how much I really can’t dance.
Now as a writer (interestingly, still a title I don’t think I can apply to myself, but that’s a thought to explore another day), there is a lot of emphasis on finding your voice. Finding your own way of expressing yourself, of structuring your writing that makes it your own. There are multiple blog posts on it, how it’s important to becoming a good writer, about how you should spend time exploring different writing styles to find the one that feels most at home to you.
It’s not something I ever really thought of when I first started writing. I just wrote for the sheer enjoyment of it. Words ended up on the page somehow and although I knew roughly how I wanted things to sound I just kind of let the words flow. I’m glad I did things that way, because if I’d have put that pressure on myself to find a voice, I don’t think my writing would have been as honest to who I am.
At the end of the day, my voice is just an extension of my personality. In fact, sometimes in my writing I feel like I’m actually the most honest version of myself. It’s as much a part of me as the way I walk, the way I talk, the little way that I strut when I think I look good in a shirt. But it’s also a part of me that I haven’t really given much of a thought to.
It wasn’t until I started challenging myself with my writing that I discovered just how distinct my writing style actually is. Changing that, writing in different ways, was a lot harder than I expected it to be. Writing about myself, my thoughts, writing as myself was easy. Trying to imagine myself as someone else? Writing as a different character? Or in a different style? That was hard. Like seriously hard.
I still find first person easier to write in than third, but I’ve found that in some instances I’ve actually found it a lot easier to write in third person. My biggest challenge yet will be completing a work of fiction. Mostly because I feel like writing a blog requires a very different writing style to write a story, even though at the end of the day they are both just writing.
I’ve found my voice, both metaphorically and physically, and now I’m determined to put those to good use.