The day I realized my writing lacks a voice
I heard that writing something dangerous and being vulnerable will help you love what you do and improve. So here we go.
Have you ever seen the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper? I feel like him, before he takes the pill to become a superhuman thinker.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, Bradley Cooper plays as Eddie Morra, a writer who’s life is crumbling around him. He lives in a small, completely unkempt apartment in New York city. The dishes go undone for days, his hair is always a mess, and goes unbathed for weeks at a time. His clothes have food stains, and he constantly suffers from writer’s block while working under a strict deadline to produce a book for his client.
While I bathe (fairly) regularly, keep a (mostly) clean house, and don’t (usually) suffer from writer’s block, I do suffer from lack of a voice. And that makes me feel like Eddie Morra. Honestly, it feels like shit.
I spent most of my life coasting by — mostly because it’s been easy for me. I have a pretty great family, was born with a good amount of luck and some fabulously good looks, and have always had a knack for getting what I want. The combination of these things has allowed me to meander through life without much effort. I became accustomed to impressing others without actually trying very hard. I suppose I was good at making it look like I’ve done well for myself, when in reality I hadn’t done much nor deserved the compliments I’d been given.
I recently graduated college with a bachelor’s in business and a minor in psychology. I tout that around like it’s such an amazing thing, but I scooted by much of college as well without my full effort, which makes it feel sort of meaningless.
This cycle of being complimented for low amounts of effort, and having a fairly easy time getting what I wanted without having to try too hard for it, caused me to be where I am now. Sort of broken, sort of together.
I realized just how true that was when one of my readers took the time to tell me how horrible my writing is. They said it “falls on the page with a thud like a wet turd”, “reeks of platitudes, tropes, and formula”, and “lacks voice”.
When I first read this, it stung, to say the least. I got angry. My gut churned and I felt a little weak, even shaky. I denied it, feared it, and got very upset over. I said to myself, “who the hell are you to talk, you asshole?!” But then I got thinking.
My writing, like much of every work I’ve ever done, has been half-assed. Most of the articles I’ve posted, well, kind of suck. At times I would write what I thought to be pretty damn good articles, when I was impassioned by something I’d learned or discovered. But even then, my writing was not half as good as the greats I aspire to.
Perhaps my articles aren’t as bad as my reader made them out to be… but they certainly lack voice. My voice. It’s nowhere to be found.
It’s never easy to admit to yourself you have faults. Everyone wants to believe they’re perfect. We’re all human. But admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it. So now it’s time for me to start solving it.
While I certainly can’t expect to take a magic pill like Eddie from Limitless and improve overnight, I hope I can eventually work my way to becoming a super-thinker and amazing writer naturally, through practice and dedication.
Just as I dedicated myself to writing every single day, I’m going to dedicate myself to finding my voice. I’m embarking upon a journey to become a true writer, and overcome the hurdles which hold me back. I’m committing to reading more blogs, and learning about others as well as myself, so that I may better serve you, my reader. Please join me in my quest.
I hope that, as I begin to develop my writing abilities, you help me along the way with comments. Whether you like it, think it sucks, or feel indifferent, please let me know. You can be as harsh or nice as you’d like. It’s hard, if not impossible, to improve without honest feedback. I really hope to hear from you.