“The authentic self is the soul made visible.” Sarah Ban Breathnach
I am very happy to feature writer ,artist and host of #JournalChat Dawn Herring in this guest post. Dawn and I met on Twitter when she invited me to her weekly #journalchat on Twitter (Thursday 2 pm PDT), a delightful and enlightening weekly exchange about all things journaling. If you are interested in journaling, you will enjoy this Twitter chat.
“I knew it was you! I recognized your voice.”
Whether we’re talking on the phone, leaving a message or calling out to a friend we’re meeting for lunch, people often know us by our voice.
Certain vocalists or talk show hosts or teachers we hear are often recognized by voice because their voices have a distinct quality that sets them apart.
Voice through text has the same possibilities especially if we’ve read something an author has written before. The tone, the word choice, the style of writing speaks to their natural, authentic voice.
And in some ways, when we hear or read an authentic voice, recognizing the value and elements that resonate, it speaks directly to our own.
But how do you know when you have found yours?
Whether you’re writing a memoir, poem or essay, or talking to a friend, speaking to an audience, or even singing a song, you know when you’ve discovered the voice that is authentic to you, your personality, your preferences and your purpose.
It carries a certain timber; it reflects your values; it speaks your heart with honesty and candor.
And all of this comes with practice.
A suggested practice approach is journal writing; if you journal every day, it will help you hone your voice, whether written or spoken.
The following ideas may resonate and feel relevant to discovering your authentic voice:
- Practice lines of poetry or song lyrics or borrow from a song that resonates with your heart. Then speak or sing them.
- Write dialogue from a conversation you had with a friend that held great meaning for you. Apply what you’ve written to a scene for memoir.
- Describe an unexpected conflict or challenge in detail, whether yours or someone else’s; determine the possible trigger of this conflict and what changes should be made in reference toward resolution. Pay close attention to any intuitive senses you pick up which will speak to your authenticity.
- Express your opinion on a topic that resonates with you either because it makes you laugh, cry or even rage.
- Use an image you’re drawn to as a prompt for written or emotional exploration to dig deeper into the soul; ask yourself its meaning for you right now, what it reminds you of and why.
- Ask yourself a question that has been nagging at you and determine an answer that reflects your authentic values.
You may be surprised with your journal writing discoveries as you tap into the Real You. Give yourself the time, space, and approach that opens your understanding and enables you to validate your emotions and feelings and nurture your soul in the process.
When you’re getting started with finding your authentic voice, you can learn by noting written or vocal voices of others and determine what sets their song, speech, essay or memoir apart from the rest.
This will help you determine, with contrast, what makes your voice authentic to you no matter how you exercise it.
Whether in word, image, or song, Your Authentic Voice will shine as you gain a fresh perspective on your story and point of view and give space for expression that comes from the heart.
Thank you Dawn for showing us how journal writing can help us to find our authentic voices. It is an important reminder that we need to keep practicing through writing prose, poetry or song to be able to hear our own voices and know they are true.