15 Oct


… and the truth of your experience can only come through in your own voice. If it is wrapped in someone else’s voice, we readers will feel suspicious, as if you are dressed up in someone else’s clothes. ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, p. 199

Writers talk a lot about finding their voice; we illustrators use the term STYLE, but it’s all the same, really.

Each of us has a unique speaking voice. We can’t help it; it’s in our DNA. The problem is, while other people love and appreciate our voices, we often do not. For me, this could not be more true. My voice may be the sweetest sound on earth to my son, but when I hear the outgoing message on my phone, my blood runs cold.

The same principle applies to the art we make, doesn’t it? Many of us — dare I say, most — are hard on ourselves. We pine over the work of our peers, and by contrast we feel our work is lacking. Why should I even bother? Look at her awesome portfolio! I may as well go dig a hole in the backyard and jump in. Sound familiar? Trust me. Even those of us who have achieved a certain level of success suffer bouts of self-doubt.

Quite regularly.

We really do.

Now, Class. While it is true that there is always room for improvement, we need to remember that each of us has a unique voice. And that’s a good thing. So… shout, sing, chat it up! Earth is big enough to accommodate every voice, every portfolio, every style. Appreciate the art that other people make, rather than using it as a measuring stick with which to whack yourself over the head. (Age helps with this, by the way. Take it from old Auntie Violet, whose skull is scarred from decades of self-inflicted lumps.)

Learn from other voices, but meanwhile, get comfortable being you.

Style is what happens when you stop trying. ~ James McMullan

2 Responses to “voice”

  1. Hazel Mitchell October 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Excellent words for a Monday.

  2. Talitha October 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I’ve never not struggled with this!

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