Do you hear yourself?
I’m not asking in a patronizing way, or a sarcastic way. I’m honestly asking, do you hear yourself?
(Also, what the hell Medium, why did the thingies change!)
Lots of people talk about tone. Inflection. I’ve been kind of stuck on the theories of it as well. I read your posts and I can hear in my head your voice. Not your actual voice, but a tone. This is what writers call “their thing,” their “writer” thing that sets them apart. Their open bag of unground coffee beans, Oliver Shiny.
Let me ask the lot of you, here at Medium, do you hear yourself when you write?
As a writer, or wanna-be writer, or aspiring writer, or author, whatever you label yourself as; do you read your stuff back to yourself? Do you read it out loud before you post?
No, I’m not asking this because you’re a bad writer, no no no. I asking almost as a spiritual thing in the writing world. Do you love the sound of your own voice?
I do. I love reading my posts out loud to myself when no one is around. I find where my hic-ups are, I find my grammar mistakes, I find where I should have worded something differently. It’s your tone. How are you supposed to find your tone if you can’t hear yourself. Sometimes, my voice is high pitched and quick. Sometimes, my voice is raspy and slow. It ranges, and I think that’s what makes my writing different.
A lot of people tend to keep the same tone of voice. Matt Damon tends to be in the same genre of movies, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Jason Statham, they all tend to stick to the same genre. There’s nothing wrong with that, they’re good at their genre. Really good. Some actors have their own distinct tone of voice that follows them wherever they go, but they never stick to the same genre. Johnny Depp, he created his own genre. He can be anything, but you know it’s him. You’re watching that movie because he’s in it, not because of that particular genre. Tim Burton is his own genre.
Don’t forget about reading out loud. So many people go to coffee houses or libraries or wherever to write. You get comfortable not using your words aloud. This is why people are so, what’s a good word, lost? That’s not quite it. Blind, maybe?
Republic of Plato — book V:
Do not be the slave hidden away in a cave, only seeing shadows of truth. In this real world, you will not be blinded by pure light, you will flourish. It is only those who chose to only see shadows that will be blinded by the truth.
Use your words and speak out loud. Listen to yourself, it is then that your writing will flourish.