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4 Certain Ways to Find Your Authentic Writing Voice

Note: This is a guest post by James Prescott. James is a writing coach and author of the several books, including Dance Of The Writer: A Beginners Guide To Authentic Writing, available free at his website, jamesprescott.co.uk. Connect with James on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77

The last year was a real struggle for me. For the first time, I fell out of love with writing.

Have you ever felt like the whole writing and/or blogging thing has just become a chore or a burden? Like it’s no longer something you choose, it’s something you have to do, and you’re lumbered with it?

For a long time, I was struggling to figure out why I’d lost my love of writing. And lots of reasons came to my mind, but it was a meeting with my therapist, also a writer, which did the trick.

She reminded me of something I already knew – that when we write, our true selves are speaking the truth to our conscious selves. She suggested I’d become scared of my inner truth. I was afraid of the hurt it might bring, or how it might challenge me, and that it would call me out of my comfort zone.

And I was reminded that’s what a lot of writing is. It’s our true self, speaking to our outer self. True, authentic writing, is born in our hearts. The messages we have to share are already there, we just need to engage with them, and give them an opportunity to speak.

The challenge for us as writers is to have the courage to engage with what’s deep within us. Because that’s where we’ll find the message we were born to share with the world.

After this conversation with my therapist, I reflected back on a few years ago, to the time I really found my voice and recalled the simple, practical steps I took which helped me get in touch with my inner writer, and which I knew could help me again. Steps you can take today, to help you find your true creative voice.

1) Free-write for 10-15 minutes per day

First off, I made the decision to free-write each day on the train to work, on an app on my smartphone. I did no editing and no planning. I kept all those ideas in one place. And over time, I began to notice common patterns, ideas or themes which kept repeating. I began to see what I really cared about, what my passion was, and the niche I was meant to write for. I discovered a coherent, clear message with a living, beating heart.

2) Kill perfectionism

Perfectionism can kill creativity. Not only had I struggled with this myself, but as a writing coach, I’d worked with people who were afraid to even begin writing because they wanted it to be perfect, or because their last piece wasn’t perfect. I learned to let go of the need for every piece to be perfect, and ironically, found that I created better, more meaningful work as a result.

3) Stop people pleasing

People pleasing is an easy temptation, but I found that the more I was concerned with pleasing others, the less honest my writing became. One reason I couldn’t find my voice was that I had become too concerned about people pleasing.

But as I began to find my own voice, instead of worrying about people pleasing, I got better responses than I’d ever got for my work – and I realized the best writing is the writing which is birthed from your true, creative self. I noticed that when I stopped trying to please everyone and listened to my heart, I created better work, and more people ultimately paid attention to it.

4) Redefine success

For too long, success for me was defined by money, follower numbers, and all of the other various stats. This just led to people pleasing, which led to inauthentic work and stifled my creativity. So I redefined what success looks like for me, to mean that when I created any work born from my true creative voice and shared that work with the world, that was a success. Regardless of the outcome.

Speaking from my experience of this process, I can honestly say if you commit to taking these four steps, you’ll find yourself more in touch with who you really are, you’ll feel more connected to your inner writer, and you’ll be free to create the work you were born to create, and share it with the world. If you do that, you can rest easy, knowing you’ve found your voice and you’ve been successful.

If you’ve got any questions, or you’ve had similar experiences, feel free to share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

So lets’ all of us step out today, engage with our inner writer, discover our authentic creative voice – and have the courage to share that with the world. Because if we do that, we’re a success and everyone benefits.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins

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  • Peter Welmerink

    Thanks for this, Bryan. Sometimes, as creatives, we have our down days, but we need to just keep pushing forward and onward in our craft.

  • ARHuelsenbeck

    Unnecessary second comma in the meme. Sorry, it bothers me. Grammar police.

  • Billie L Wade

    Thank you for a great post, James. The hardest challenge for me is perfectionism. Consciously, I know it does not exist, it is a yearning of my imagination. Still, I want every piece to be perfect, the first time. I want the writing to be what I have pictured in my mind, the first time. I want to edit effortlessly, the first time. For these reasons—among many—my projects often feel like chores rather than recreation. I love to write and want it to feel like recreation again. I also have to redefine success for myself. Success begins within me. “Out there somewhere” is too volatile; I need to celebrate the small steps and accomplishments. You gave me a lot to think about.

    • Thanks Billie, appreciate that – so glad the post was helpful to you.

  • samcarter44

    Thank you for a great post, James, and thank you for publishing it, Bryan. Sometimes I struggle with my writing because of my depression. These tips will help me when I’m in a dry spot. Thank you.

  • Lindsay Hull

    I can totally relate, especially with number 3. With my own blog and writing I had gotten so caught up with people pleasing that I lost my voice somewhere down the line. I’m only recently coming to the same realization you had!

  • Frank McKinley

    James, this is a fantastic article! #1 resonates with me because this is where the fun of writing is. I feel unfettered when I’m free writing. I’m more likely to say the risky thing – you know, the one you wonder if you should say.

    I’ve found most of the time you should.

    It’s better to shock people than it is to bore them. That takes care of #2 and #3. Here’s to authentic writing in our own voices. Sounds like success to me.

  • “So I redefined what success looks like for me, to mean that when I created any work born from my true creative voice and shared that work with the world, that was a success. Regardless of the outcome.”

    Powerful James. Powerful because I know what it’s like to be in the clutches of what the world calls successful. I know you can write a good piece, a great piece, but if you let the doubts of ‘will others think so?’ into your thinking. Bam. There goes everything.

    The struggle I have is that I become missing in action. I think I’m coming back, and it’s been a while. But I will slip away. And it could be for a while. It’s not that my readers are not important. I think it’s something I learned to just regroup, to work through whatever has its tentacles around me.

    I appreciate your recent blogs. They are born out of someone who admits his struggles and then fights his way through them. Keep going James.