Finding Your Voice is Hard

Finding Your Voice is Hardfeatured

Every time I sit down to write or blog (here, on my “professional” site, personal stuff, fiction), I have a huge decision to make.

Which voice will I use today?

It’s easier when I write for clients — the voice is pre-determined (by said clients or by me in collaboration with them) before I even open Word. But when it’s me writing?

Finding Your Voice is Hard {the ponytail diaries}

I want to be witty, funny, clever, and ironic, with sharp observations and well-thought-out commentary on pop culture. (think: McSweeney’s, The Everywhereist)

I want to be earnest, sincere, thoughtful, and honest, with emotional, vulnerable posts. (like Aidan)

I want to be goofy, silly, and self-deprecating, with silly humor and lots of well-placed GIFs.

I want to be relatable and helpful, someone people go to for advice and encouragement.

I want to be authoritative and “straight-up, no bullshit,” posting “get your shit together” rants and diatribes that get people to take action.

I want to be philosophical and whimsical, sharing simple yet deep thoughts about gratitude and finding beauty in everyday things.

I can “do” all these voices, but I wouldn’t say I use one more adeptly or one comes easier than others. Whatever voice I use depends on the day, the subject, my mood, what else I’ve read that day/about that topic, and a thousand other factors.

Sometimes I adopt one voice and use it well. Sometimes I try to use several voices at once and it’s a big fucking mess. Sometimes I don’t really pick a voice at all and it’s a big bland mess.

Would this blog be stronger if I picked one stance and stuck with it? Probably. Would it also be way harder to update and maintain if I had to force myself into a certain mindset for every post? Most definitely.

Is it hard for everyone? When you write a post, an email, an Instagram or Facebook update, a short story, a journal entry, anything, do you spend time deciding “what persona should I use?” Did you make a conscious choice, when you write in certain capacities, to use a certain voice, regardless of what you may feel like writing on that day? How do you decide which voice is the right one to cultivate — for you/your brand, if you feel you have one?

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  • Hmm, that’s interesting! I mostly write how I think and talk so my blog ends up reading like a journal entry or a long letter to a friend (well, I think it does anyway). I don’t make the conscious choice to do that though. With the exception of scientific writing (for school or work), I don’t try to have a particular kind of voice. When I do, it come across as fake or disingenuous.

    • I think part of my problem is my voice and tone varies depending on who I’m talking to and the situation I’m in. I don’t feel like I have a single, consistent “persona,” so to speak, so when I write, I never know until I get into it if I’m going to sound funny and sarcastic or more thoughtful and introspective. But I agree, when I force things one way or another, it comes across sounding fake and weird.

  • i love this post. i have been struggling to find my voice. I know when i write in my journal as well that i start to write in my “blog” voice and not be me.

    • Isn’t that a weird feeling? It’s like as a blogger you’re told to “be yourself! Be authentic! …but not too much.”

      Thanks for reading!