Did I Do That? Voice in Regards to “Why I Write”

Reviewing my tentative response to the question “Why do you write?” has only reinforced my belief that the voice of the piece is authentically mine. I think this is due in part to the fact that I have never attempted to tackle this question before. Because I don’t have a concrete answer to this question as of yet, I’m not only answering it for an audience, but also for myself. I have no motivation to use anything other than my own voice when I’m exploring my own thoughts.

 

Is this a good thing? In this case, I would say yes. There are some places where using one’s own voice is inappropriate and/or ineffective. Academic writing, which perhaps makes up the bulk of my textual output, is one such instance. However, when answering a personal question, I can think of no better tone to use than my own. In fact, I would argue that using a tone other than my own would be dishonest. To answer a question by adopting a persona other than my default would tinge my answer with influences uncharacteristic of me.

 

Utilizing my own voice invites one major fault into my writing: overpersonalization. Or at least I would have thought so. Today’s class convinced me otherwise. The concept of overpersonalization is something that no longer worries me because of the idea that specific experiences can be generalized. When someone relays an experience of theirs which I have not endured, I immediately draw parallels to experiences of my own. I don’t need to have had the same experience as someone else because I can identify with elements of anyone’s experience.

 

Experiential identification, whether partial or perfect, is the essence of a piece on the subject “Why do I write?” The bits and pieces with which one can identify are enough for a reader to extract meaning from the essay; the rest can be an exercise of memory or pleasure for the author. The identifiable pieces can be extracted to form meaning, inspiration, entertainment, or any combination of the three. In order to lend the essay as many of these pieces as possible, it is imperative that one utilize their own voice. Without it, an essay on the reason for writing becomes fictitious and meaningless.

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