Reclaiming My Voice

PileofMonkeys wrote recently about finding your writing voice, and it got me thinking. I do a lot of writing in a week. It’s mostly letters, memos, and talking points for work, with the occasional press release or proclamation. And then, of course, my Persephone posts and tumblr spam, with some short stories and fanfiction thrown in when I can find the time. As is true for most folks, my writing generally falls into two categories: professional and personal.

Unlike most people, though, my professional voice is not just a less casual version of my personal voice. It’s not even just the “work version” of my real personality. My second voice belongs to Bossman.

Bossman is a relatively long-term incumbent. At least, he has held some form of elected office since long before I started working for him. So of course, he already had his own style of speech and writing that was established before I had to set pen to paper on his behalf. It didn’t take too much getting used to before I could write something in his voice that his own mother wouldn’t be able to tell that he hadn’t written himself.

For a while there, though, I thought I was losing myself. I’d sit down to write something – a complaint letter, maybe, or a ranty facebook comment about something in the news – and it would come out sounding like something that belonged in Bossman’s file cabinet. “I was appalled to hear the recent news that Blah Blah Blah did Thing. As a Something Special, I fight hard against blahdy blah blah every day, and…” Well, you get the picture.

Fortunately, our lovely editors here at Persephone got together to save me. (At least, that’s how I remember it.) They came along with the idea for a new Lady Blog and agreed to let me write for you all. By exercising my writing muscle for fun instead of mostly at work, I was able to seize my own voice back. Now when I sit down in front of a blank screen or an empty page, I can switch back and forth between the voices as smoothly as if they were both my own. And it’s much easier to figure out whether it’s my turn to talk or the little Bossman who lives in my head.

Image courtesy of Disney.

By BaseballChica03

Political hack. Word nerd. Stays crispy in milk. Oxford Comma user. Blogger since 2001.

2 replies on “Reclaiming My Voice”

It’s easy for me to lose my voice when I get used to churning out grant application after academic paper after grant application. Like you, I really like having outlets like tumblr and Persephone to get some exercise for my creative writing. My work voice is not just a different tone, but a different language (Academic Jargonese – I’m almost fluent!) from my creative writing. It can be quite a mental switch to go from one to the other, but if I don’t, I feel like I..I don’t know, like I am not giving voice to a real part of myself.

Love this! I feel the exact same way! I have always enjoyed creative writing, was an English major for while in college, and just loved putting words to paper. Then I started working at a law firm where very early on, after I sent out a particularly descriptive email regarding something or other unimportant, I was informed that “brevity is key. Don’t use 5 sentences if something can be described in 1.” While this is incredibly useful in the business world, I have felt the creativity draining out of me for years. I feel so lucky that Ophelia took a chance on my silly idea and that she and Ms. Sally J. have let me keep submitting stuff. It has been awesome not only getting my voice back, but being a part of such a fantastic community.

Thanks BaseballChica!

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