what I’ve learned about “finding my voice”

Jay Clouse creativity, learning

If you’ve spent any time around writing at all, you’ve probably heard the advice or phrase to “find your own voice” in your writing. This is true for creating any content or messaging really – if you want to be authentic, it needs to come through your natural voice.

And if you’ve tried to do this, you probably realized that it’s much more challenging than you’d think. Some writers spend years trying to find their own voice.

I’ve never really given this much thought; I basically thought I was pretty close, and that I was getting better every day.

But recently this became very real to me when I started playing around with Anchor. You’ve [hopefully] noticed the big purple button at the top of these emails for the last several weeks – that’s Anchor.

Anchor is basically independent radio. When you create an account, you are given your own “station” which allows you to record voice segments, share others’ voice segments (they can call in to your station), curate the music you like, and more.

It’s really pretty cool – I’ve been having a blast with it and building an audience I probably wouldn’t otherwise reach.

For the last few weeks, I’ve played around with the format a little and ended up with a pretty standard format that I update daily:

1. I share an off the cuff message of current thoughts or challenges, and then invite listeners to call in and share their own thoughts and experiences

2. I read the piece that I share with my newsletter

3. I add a song that I’m into that has a tie-in to the message of today’s piece

As I’ve done this more and more, it’s created a really powerful cycle.

The first thing I’ve noticed is that for pieces that are truly written in my voice, I can read through the email verbatim and it feels natural. It feels like it could be off the cuff. And when it doesn’t, I say it naturally on Anchor and change my writing.

The second thing I’ve noticed is that in doing this repetition of write, read, repeat, I’ve become a better writer. And not only a better writer, but a better speaker.

At the core of all of this is communicating in an authentic voice. And that may not be perfect written English. I’m using a lot of small words, contractions, prepositions, and passive voice!

Bottom line: people connect much more strongly to authenticity. And authenticity comes from your voice.


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