A Quest for a Writer’s Voice

By Masimba Biriwasha | On Point | @ChiefKMasimba | January 20, 2014

Perhaps one of the greatest battles I’ve fought in my life has been to find my writer’s voice.

Because it’s a highly internal affair, there are no witnesses to the bloody spectacle except, maybe, for a disfigured piece of writing. Every time I try to awaken my writer’s voice I feel wrecked. It’s a real pain to say the least: mind-numbing.

Everything inside me comes tumbling down. I beat myself up for not achieving a floaty, nirvana like state to get writing oozing out of me. My muse – if I have one – goes on absence without leave.

It’s like I have an ever-living ton load of doubt inside that resurrects every time I try to write, leaving me pulling my hair out in utter frustration. My voice dries up like a corn tassel in drought season. I have been digging deep, clawing at my edges, fighting hard to find that voice. It’s not been easy.

But here are some of the things that I’m learning in my battle: I’m learning now that if I’m ever going to find my writer’s voice, I need to think about just holding back, and not look for it.

What is a writer’s voice if it means nothing? What is a writer’s voice if it lacks passion and authenticity?

What I should more is listen to my heart? Out of my heart will spring my writer’s voice. Instead of being so concerned about how many words I put down, I need to look deeper into myself and then let everything flow out.

I’m also learning that to succeed I need to focus on writing one word at a time. Everything I write ends and begins with the words I choose.

I have to acknowledge that,  I’m taking baby steps, and it’s worth the effort. In the process, I’m trying to be comfortable with my doubt.

Almost singing a lullaby to the doubt as I get on with stringing words together. The main goal: to get the paragraph right. As painful as the journey is, the passion keeps pushing me on. Hopefully, at the end of it all, a writer’s voice will emerge.

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