How can we be certain that our voice is our own? Not the frequency we speak at or the timbre of our voice, but the way we craft sentences and use language.
As a writer, I have clear evidence of my most recent readings affecting my prose. It’s barely conscious in the moment. It doesn’t make for terrible writing. But it’s not my true voice.
Some spiritual and meditative gurus talk of finding our “true selves” through practices of self-reflection. One of the things that interferes with this discovery is the consumption of inputs created by anyone other than ourselves.
Without a true voice, we are more likely to be swayed by popular action or character. We find it easier to sound like the crowd and shape ourselves to what they say. A writer without his voice becomes a parrot of other works, endlessly regurgitating the same style, words or symmetries
“Eschew all diversion.” Seems a bit extreme- necessary at times maybe- but not long-term. This route suggests “dopamine fasts” to cut all connections to stimulating distractions, hence restoring our focus, clarity and ability to sit with ourselves.
The answer to finding our “true voice” lies in our passions. The things we love are the things we cannot be dishonest about. Find that and you’ve found your voice.