Finding one’s voice in writing means discovering your unique writing style. It’s a blend between the types of vocabulary used and how you play with sentence structure. Some authors mince words with short, straight-to-the-point sentences, while others may elaborate on a verbose soliloquy of description. Some may use a blend depending on the tension level. A writer’s voice is what makes them unique. Many authors have written under different pen names only to be linked to their other works by their writing voice. For example, J.K. Rowling wrote as Robert Galbraith, Steven King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and C.S. Lewis wrote poems under Clive Hamilton.
Discovering our distinct voice can be not only challenging but also scary. What makes us unique makes us dissimilar. To stand out can also mean to be exposed. There are a variety of different reasons why authors chose to write under a pen name. Dean Koontz used more than ten pen names because publishers in the 1970s warned about writing in different genres out of a fear he’d lose readership. Mystery writer Agatha Christie wrote romances as Mary Westmacott because she viewed writing mysteries as work but playtime was writing romance. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov hid his identity by writing as Paul French because he was embarrassed to be known as the author of a young adult sci-fi book that was to be made into a TV show.
Finding our voice reminds me of Blind Bartimaeus, who sat by the side of the road as a large crowd was leaving to follow Jesus. When Bartimaeus overheard Jesus was near, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The crowd immediately tried to silence him and told him to stop, but Bartimaeus was determined. He knew he needed Jesus, so he shouted louder.
Jesus heard and called him over. While the crowd tried to coax him, telling him not to be afraid and it’s going to be okay. Bartimaeus jumped up, threw off his coat, and ran to follow the voice of Jesus. Jesus told him, “Your eyes are healed because of your faith,” and immediately Bartimaeus could see.
Focusing on and following God’s voice will help us to find our own. When the crowd public opinion tries to muzzle us to stop speaking, we need to find our voice. When the crowd tells us to quiet down as they did Bartimaeus, we need to shout louder. When society tells us to be afraid of retribution or public shame, we need to stand firm on the solid rock of Christ Jesus and speak of the grace and love of the one whose opinion that truly matters—the Lord God Almighty.
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