Once upon a time when most of my year was spent in the classroom, my vocal chords got a good work out. School not only involves teaching, it also involves lots of meetings. As a classroom teacher my vocal chords developed quite well. I remember dreading the first day or so of school–not because it meant getting back into a routine (admittedly, I’m not a big fan of routines), nor because it meant seeing my students again (I love and miss them still . . . at least most of them); but because it meant I’d have a wicked sore throat after talking more in one day than I did in all of break. It took a day or two before my vocal chords settled into a new routine and I truly found my voice again.
I’m finding the same is happening with my writing. After a few months of unplanned hiatus from regular writing, getting back into the swing of things is a bit uncomfortable. I know it will become easier as I keep at it. I know if my journal got a better workout, my other writing would be more a part of me again.
The thing with finding your voice is that it takes practice. When I write, I have to ask, “Is that how I would really say that?” I want people to read something and have no doubt about who wrote it. I want the reader to be able to pick up a scrap of my writing and say, “That’s so Sheryl.”
Finding my voice in other areas of my life has taken practice, too. Speaking in front of a crowd or a classroom is all the same to me–it feels right and good. I figure if someone invited me there, they probably thought I had something to say. Somewhere along my way, I’ve lost sight of that on a personal level. It’s much more intimidating for me to talk to a small group or an individual who isn’t very close to me about most things than it is to talk to a larger group–especially if I need to initiate.
I’m working on it. Sometimes my words are harsher than I intend. Sometimes they’re more condescending than they are conciliatory. Sometimes they’re just too soft, and they go unheard.
In many ways it’s easier to find my voice on the computer screen. I can write, and then I can delete and start over. My voice doesn’t have that luxury. I can mute and apologize, but there’s no delete. The best I can hope for is a gift of grace from the hearer–the kind of grace that encourages me to keep speaking.
I’m working on making my voice heard bit by bit. How’s your voice?
photo courtesy of NFSA Australia
Today I’ve joined the Faith Barista’s Faith Jam. Every week Bonnie’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith and life related topic. This is my riff on “Finding My Voice.” I’d love to read your thoughts on the topic. Please leave a comment or a link to your blog if you’ve jammed on this. And if you haven’t blogged on it, please leave some of your thoughts in the comment section below. If you’re interested in seeing what others had to say, please follow the link over to the Faith Barista site.