On the 30th of November this year, I reached a milestone: my short story Clara appeared in the November issue of Electric Spec magazine. This is the first time that a short story of mine got published. I can’t explain what this means to me. But then again, anybody who has decided to live their dream knows the gleeful feeling of moving a step farther along their path.
I took the decision to live my dream rather than dream my dream in May 2016. Before that, I had always striven but never taken any real steps to live the life of a writer. In the end, two decades of wishful thinking culminated in me having had enough of dabbling. By Christmas that year, I completed the rough draft of my trilogy Illumination, and in January 2017, I gave in my two-month resignation from my day job (not a spontaneous decision). Finishing the books merely coincided with me being unable to continue working a job that did not resonate with my essence. In reality, by finally taking a decision in that faithful May to no longer live a life I did not want to live, I started a slow transformation within me which helped me break through the thick wall of fear that had hitherto held me back.
I believe that the transformation I’m talking about is that I found my voice. Every writer wants this to happen to them, right? They want to bring out the uniqueness in their writing. This is the advice we hear again and again at conferences and workshops: Find your voice. This is the prerequisite for greatness. Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever be great, and this, frankly speaking, is irrelevant to whether I will keep writing or not, but what I discovered when I looked back on what happened since May 2016 is that finding my voice entailed more than writing a great deal.
I don’t dispute that practice, practice, practice is the mother of all crafts. However, there is another component that is not often mentioned: the outlook of the craftsperson on life, and, perhaps, their own life. Accepting that what I wanted to with my life was be a writer made my craft stronger. Finding one’s voice, or style, or whatever else the uniqueness in creativity is called has a lot to do with whether the creator lives according to their own truth. If a creator lives their life as their true self, then their writing too will reflect their authentic personality. The logic is simple, but the execution not so much.
The inhibitions and fears we have as creators will inevitably come out in our creations masking who we really are. Yet, the more we peel the layers of silt that life deposits on our minds and hearts, the more our truth will shine through our writing, or music, or painting. So, in the end, I believe that finding your voice has a lot do with learning to be honest with yourself first. It’s about bringing your deep essence to the surface.
How to do this is up to each and every one of us. (Meditation? Psychoanalysis? A hot bath?) Sometimes, just taking a decision is already a beginning.