note to twenty something self … a writer’s voice

19, January 2011

I’ve noticed you’ve been paying a lot of attention to all the chatter around this thing called “a writer’s voice” of late.  In the books you read, the podcasts you listen to, the interviews you skim, with your mates down the pub and in the latest competitions and schemes you’re chasing.

Now I know that you know or think you know that this “voice” is meant to be your unflinching perspective on the world that rings true with authenticity and takes audiences on a journey never before fathomed by mortal beings … but honestly, that’s an awful lot to live up to don’t you think?

I mean come on, before Shakespeare was Shakespeare he was just writing any old tosh that got his rocks off. He wasn’t trying to change the world. He was just trying to pay the rent, entertain his mates and score some free drinks at the bar.

As the older wiser version of yourself let me give you some advice.

It’s going to be hard enough to find your voice so when you do, please please please don’t go fretting over immediately trying to measure it against the benchmark of public and professional opinion.

Now don’t get all huffy, I’m not trying to tell you what to do. Just take a breath and keep writing. Do you really want to spend the next couple of years caught in the vicious cycle of writing for approval rather than writing for yourself? Didn’t think so.

Are you breathing?

Here’s the thing … your voice as a writer is simply what you like to write about in the style you like to write it. Period. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Seriously.

Once you’ve found it be proud of it, keep developing it and never apologise for it. Despite what you might think (are you still breathing?) you are indeed a unique beautiful snowflake.

If after a while no one wants to buy it, celebrate it, shoot it, stage it or record it don’t get disheartened. Look further afield and find the right opportunity for you that will showcase your work. If it doesn’t exist, go out and create it. At the very least find an audience for it.

Just keep breathing and keep writing.

Oh and enjoy your twenties, I know you know that you’re not cut out for the whole tortured artist routine, so just cut it out alright.

And by the way, that lamb wool jacket and blonde tips you’re thinking about … not a good idea.

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2 Responses to “note to twenty something self … a writer’s voice”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Xanthe, Brett Snelgrove. Brett Snelgrove said: new drettworlb post: note to twenty something self a writer's voice http://ht.ly/1aVNYU […]

  2. MaryP Says:

    Nice post, Brett. This is a great note for my twenty-something self, too! I totally agree — voice is much easier to come by than journeys “never before fathomed by human beings.” It just takes a whole lot of that writing and breathing!


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