I’ve been a writer of some sort for years, really since childhood. Notice I don’t call myself a good writer, just a writer. I think it’s a beauty is in the eyes of a beholder thing. Some writing styles fit different personalities, I suppose.
As I grew into a strong and well-respected news reporter, I started realizing I was losing my own voice. Although people said they could always tell when I had been doing the writing but I was also known for keeping my opinion out of it.
My need for a different outlet, to almost prove that I could write something other than objective news led me to try blogging. I quickly realized it was therapeutic to be able to write out what I was dealing with in life at the time and my blogging grew. My audience didn’t, but I didn’t write for them. Sure, I was grateful when my journey could inspire and help someone else but the blogs were mostly for me.
As a means of separating my writing, I found myself taking on a completely new voice in my blogs. It was more how I talk in person and (small confession)… I would sometimes allow for incorrect grammar or punctuation just because I didn’t have an abusive copy editor looking over my shoulder for my blog writing.
Through all this, I had a voice. I knew my voice. Actually, I had two voices…andI don’t mean the kind in my head! I had my news/professional voice and my blogging voice. They were distinct. They were both me.
Then a lot changed in my life. Because of the economy, I found myself without a job for the first time in my adult life. I could no longer call myself a reporter. I knew I wanted to do something different with my life but wasn’t sure what. I was determined to not let my job define my identity but what I didn’t realize…and probably still don’t realize… is just how entrenched my identity was in that job.
I didn’t sit and pout about being laid off. I immediately started looking for work, including starting my own communications company, which means I write for a lot of different people. I also started helping a couple of different startup news agencies develop into respected sources of information. No matter what writing I’ve been doing though, I take on their voice, not my own.
Through all of this, I’ve tried keeping up with my blog but not done a good job. I used to have a long list of blog entries I wanted to write but finally quit writing them down because I knew I would never get to them. In the last year or so, when I’ve forced myself to blog, what should be inspiring and light has come off sounding forced and almost preachy. I’ve learned a lot, and I want to share a lot. But it just hasn’t been able to come.
I’ve missed that side of myself for a long time but it’s just been in the last month or so that I’ve really wanted to find that voice again. My voice. It’s bothered me that I can write for others but not for myself.
I started paying more attention to the other lady bloggers I follow on Twitter and also made a new friend, who also happens to be married to a co-worker of mine at my new job! @BusyNothings can be read at her blog, http://www.thebusynothings.com/. She shares funny, smart stories about her family that I think can inspire women or sometimes just make them grateful to know that someone else faces similar challenges!
I mentioned not being able to get the right tone lately when blogging and she said “Just be yourself and people will be attracted to that!”
That’s when it hit me.
A big reason for me not being comfortable blogging is because I can’t be myself. Oh, I have the freedom to be myself. But deep down, I have to admit that I have no idea who that person is. I can’t truly be myself or offer my own voice because I don’t recognize it. I think it’s there, and I think a big part of who I used to be is still in there.
But I’ve changed, I’ve grown. I no longer identify with a job that I both loved and felt abused by. Or do I? I think something that was such a big part of someone’s identity takes a long time to separate in a healthy way. I don’t want to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. There was a lot that I loved, and I hope to use that in my future.
But what now? I keep telling myself that my identity is in Christ. It’s not in a job. It’s not in my marriage. All of those are fallible. Christ is not. But I have to admit, I still don’t know what all that means or how it will affect me.
So what’s my point? My point is, I’m going to start writing again. Writing for me, but also hoping people learn and grow from my journey. My voice will change as I change. I plan on writing how I’m thinking. So sometimes, that’s going to be serious and perhaps even stilted. Sometimes I will rabbit trail like all get out.
But it will all be me, my voice. My ever-changing voice.