5 Ways to Find Your Authentic Voice

We all wish to write well. We wish to engage our readers, to influence them and inspire them as well. Through our writing we want to be heard and to connect.
And yet, sometimes we are unable to express ourselves from the core of our being. We may be writing right or writing well but we miss having a genuine engagement with our readers.

Here are a few ways to write in our unique, authentic voices.

1. Add another layer to your subject matter

Whether you are writing of food or of life choices, add a theme or an underlying motif to your writing. You may speak of your life, or your environment, your city or your culture. Any influences that have shaped you and made you what you are today are likely to resonate with your readers because this is what you know and are passionate about. 

2. Be rather than do

This may sound cryptic but when you focus too much on doing, on chasing goals, on planning or executing you lose touch with your innermost core. We are so caught up in rushing and meeting deadlines that we don’t have the time to relax into our being. We react rather than being proactive.

So, take the time to ‘be’, to nurture your self to come back to writing as the unique person that you are.

3. Loosen your emotions

There are so many emotions that we would rather not experience. Pain, anger, resentment, jealousy…we push them to the back of our conscious minds. The emotions fester and bring an unease that we carry with us. Confronting or even simply accepting these negative thoughts and feelings is the first step towards healing. The acceptance of our flawed selves opens us to the beauty we have in the people around us. 

4. Stay honest

At least to yourself. Be brutally honest about your aspirations, expectations and your values. Search within and know your code of ethics. Recognise your strengths and recognise the areas you wish you could improve. 

Authentic writing is more an expression of your true self than anything else. When you know clearly who you are and what moves your soul, you can go after those things in your life and in your writings. You can bring your unique perspective to the writing.

5. Follow it through

Know that creativity makes you express yourself and know that you are doing yourself a favour by following through what you do well. Keep at it and try to drown the noise of criticism…inner, more than anyone else’s.

Perspective

A chance conversation with a friend brought up the name of an artist she recently admired in a local cultural center. He is Nikolai Astrup, a Norwegian painter, much in shadow for the world outside Norway because of the more illustrous Edvard Munch, who was both his contemporary and a towering figure. 

Edvard Munch brings to mind ‘The Scream‘, the expressionist painting he is best known for. It depicts the agony of a mysterious sexless figure. The foreground is distorted yet a balance is restored in the form of a plunging perspective of the roadway and the fence. 

While Munch was very popular all over the world, Nikolai had a loyal following only in his native land. His landscapes are characterized by bold lines and clear bright colours. 

A glance at his intensely colourful paintings with dark undertones of meaning present a world that is observant. Nikolai does not step into his paintings; he stands at a distance and observes. The landscapes have a fairytale quality. His art is at once eerie and sublime. 

Technically, his paintings shun the aerial perspective used by artists and painters to show objects that are farther off. Perhaps, it is for this reason that they seem like the offspring of an intense and brooding imagination. 

Another favourite painter is Vincent van Gogh whose painting ‘Starry Night’ has one of the most dramatic skies ever seen just as the brilliantly orange hue of the sky in Edvard Munch’s ‘ The Scream’. The landscapes painted by Van Gogh at San Remy’s employs the technique of three point perspective masterfully.

Mostly self taught, Van Gogh’s prolific drawings made him an expert of the technique of linear perspective. His painting, ‘The CafĂ© at Night’, is a bold example of one point perspective

Inspired by these paintings, a walk through the alleys and the narrow by lanes in the heart of the town presented this sight that leapt out to me. It was a perfect single vanishing point. 

Another painting, ‘Paris Street, A Rainy Day ‘ by Gustave Caillebotte is an excellent example of a two point perspective because of the way the roads and buildings are arranged in the painting

Here is my take

A three point perspective is when a painting or a photograph has three vanishing points. This makes the subject rather intriguing. 

Last year when I visited the most popular church in a North Indian hill station, I stepped up close, looked up and snapped a picture. The majestic cathedral rose up high in the clouds. 

*All of my photographs have been tweaked to make them look like oil paintings.