Austin Kleon, New York Times bestselling author and “writer who draws”, talks about how to develop your voice in a fantastic 10-step illustrated article using his book Show Your Work!. He reveals his personal experience with the idea of voice: “I used to worry a lot about voice, wondering if I had my own. But now I realize that the only way to find your voice is to use it.”
Austin also quotes Billy Collins, a United States Poet Laureate, who speaks at a White House poetry workshop about how your voice can and should be influenced by outside sources. Kleon and Collins are both believers in taking what you read and see and using it as an inspiration to create a voice that is uniquely your own.
The #stout Summary:
To find your voice: read, search, and explore. Find what speaks to you in those external voices; combine and blend all of those takeaways and use them every day when you communicate. The more you use them, the more they will be influenced by you and will develop into your own unique voice.
The #stout Takeaways:
1. Let go of the idea that your voice is a mystery that can only be found in soul-deep introspection
One way to let go- try our tips for learning like a kid again!
2. Read deeply, read widely and look *outside* yourself to find what speaks to you *inside*.
Explore more thoughts on reading here.
3. It’s OK to imitate your influences with an aim to growing better than that source.
They key is combining your inspirations until they are no longer recognizable as individual sources, but develop into your own authentic voice.
In the words of Billy Collins: “After you find your voice, you realize there’s really only one person to imitate, and that’s yourself”.
Want a bit more on finding your inner voice through external influences?
Watch Billy Collins, American poet and Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003, expound on the idea at the White House Poetry Workshop.