Still trying to figure out voice

An essential element of answering the question of whether or not my “Why I Write” draft is in my voice is knowing what my voice is. To be completely honest I still have no idea what “my voice” is. When it comes to writing, voice is never really something I think about. As always, I try to answer whatever prompt I am given to the best of my ability, whether it be a prompt that was assigned to me or one I made up myself to guide my writing. Therefore, writing tends to be a highly meditative process for me, involving a lot of erasing and re-writing as I go along. When I think of voice I think of something that comes naturally, which leads me to believe that most of the writing I do is not in “my voice.”

However, when I re-read my first draft, I can’t say that it is not written in my voice – even though it is hard for me describe what my voice is. This leads me to believe that I wrote my “Why I Write” piece in one of many voices that I put on, varying based on the circumstance for the writing. I just spent a month engrossed in research to produce a literature review on evolutionary theories for grooming behavior in non-human primates. The result? A dry, scientific-paper primarily made up of other people’s ideas. However, I did paraphrase those ideas into “my own words.” While I wouldn’t necessarily want to claim the style of that paper as my voice, I think it would be fair to say that it is a voice of mine used in writing that has to be professional, clear, and succinct.

The voice in my “Why I Write” paper is very much a voice that comes out when I am thinking very in depth about a subject, and translating those thoughts onto paper as seamlessly as possible. This strategy often results in a stream of rather incoherent, superfluous sentences that I then have to edit to make sense. I believe the ultimate result is a mixture of writing that is both my voice and not my voice. So, is the rough draft in my voice? Yes and no. I do think that writing this blog and continuously going through my draft has helped me to pinpoint which parts of the draft are in fact my voice and which parts are not.

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