A great deal of attention is paid in critical circles to the concept of having “a voice” in writing. It is my belief that all of us have a voice in writing because all of us have a voice. Working to have a “unique” voice is another concept that gets a great deal of play. I believe that each of us already has a unique voice. We do not need to “develop” it; rather, we need to discover or, perhaps better, uncover it.
This may sound like semantic quibbling, but to my eye it is not. The minute we start thinking of writing as something exalted and difficult, the minute we begin to imagine we must construct something--“a voice”--in order to be able to do it, writing becomes an elusive and difficult art rather than a birthright--or a birth-write.
When we focus on having a voice to the exclusion of having something to say, we put the cart before the horse. If we allow ourselves to enter into what we want to express, we will intuitively arrive at appropriate ways to express it.
Go back to the physical voice that we are all born with. That voice rests on a foundation. That foundation is the breath. When a singing teacher seeks to open a voice, the foundation step is proper breathing: regular, repetitive, and from the gut.
There is no better way to open a writing voice than to write regularly, repetitively, and from the gut.
So write today. If you’ve done your Morning Pages--from the gut, you’ve started the excavation towards discovering your voice. If you didn’t… try tomorrow.
You have a voice. And you are meant to use it.