Finding my voice

After reading almost everyone else’s blog posts, I am at a loss of what to write in this one. Mostly because the thoughts rocketing around my brain right now feel like a super-speed game of Pong. I told myself all week long “you should really get started on that blog post…after all, your last post was all about getting into a routine of writing. What on earth will people think if you talk about the importance of writing and then turn around and wait until the last minute again?” Well…I waited until the last minute again.

After a brief moment to open up Pandora and set a Mozart station, I feel much more ready to write. For some reason, Mozart is my thinking music. Perhaps the lack of words to distract me? Note: I think every blog I’m going to list questions for YOU all that pop into my head and post them at the end to answer as you please.

I am going to try to use this space as a place to free write and work in the readings as they fit, but mostly I want to get myself thinking and writing again in a way that never seems to happen when all I think of are scripted assignments. Hopefully re-educating myself on writing will make me a better teacher when it comes to writing. One thing I know I need to work on in my own writing is VOICE. When I read back on my writing, it always seems so stiff and formal. Which is good when the assignment is to write a formal paper, but not so good when I’m thinking about how I’m going to someday teach students how to write in a more natural and creative environment than “Write a five paragraph essay on this topic I chose for you.” Hopefully this blog will help me find my own voice in writing again, since it seems to have left me somewhere between my elementary and high school years. As an a exercise in the kind of writing I will encourage in my own students, here is an experiment of my own free writing…and now, I write.

I talked to one of my best friends earlier this week in preparation for my minilesson on “How to visit Wales” for my practicum class. Talking about Wales and all the memories we had and preparing for that lesson in general made me realize that writing is important not only as a memento of experiences that we ourselves want to remember (one way I’ve successfully used writing in the past), but also for another reason: to relate those experiences to other people. Okay, so that sounded completely obvious, but what I *really* mean is this: said friend and I again (it’s a frequent topic when we’re “homesick” for Wales) talked about how it is really impossible for anyone who hasn’t been in a similar experience (living three thousand+ miles from home in a foreign country with all these new places to see and things to do) to understand why we miss it so much. It is a constant frustration to me that no one I see/converse with on a regular basis (besides said friend) can seem to relate to this in any way: not my husband, not my parents, not my other geographically closer friends. This is it: writing. Cue lightbulb moment. Thinking about how I would want to explain my occasional homesickness for this land that no one around me has ever really thought of, let alone seen. The simplest mode: writing.

Putting words on a page (or in this case, a blank screen) is a much easier mode for me to express myself to other people. This is the easiest way for me to think of reader-based prose versus writer-based prose. If I need to explain something to someone who wasn’t there (and I’m talking NEED to explain, not just hopeful that someone else will interpret your meaning the way you intended it), what better lens to use than something I have already experienced? As the semester goes on, I hope that I can build on this. And I hope that when I become a fully-fledged teacher, this is something I can share with my students to help illustrate the importance and relevance of writing to their lives. Writing is practice at telling a story. It gives you more freedom and time and space to craft a story for the telling than does an on-the-spot conversation. Or at least it does for me! I hope I haven’t over-philosophized my point. I think the original point was for me to learn how to write in my own voice, which somehow turned into reader/writer-based prose. Note: this is what happens when you go into a blog post not sure of what to write!

Questions: Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what inspires you?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Finding my voice

  1. I throw on a Pandora quick mix when I write. It keeps my subconscious happily distracted!

  2. I like to listen to music while I write too. I think Pandora has helped a lot of writers since it started!

    Have you thought about whether or not your voice changes based on the music you listen to? I’ve noticed that I listen to different music depending on what type of writing I am working on.

    • I’ve mostly just listened to classical because it gives me a little distraction without me feeling like I need to sing along. I started in college when I was writing papers in my room and my roommate wanted to watch t.v.! I’m going to have to try out some new genres, though. Maybe if I listen to music I’m not already familiar with it will give me some background noise that will add to my thought process rather than distracting me from the task at hand!

  3. Claire Leute

    I absolutely agree with what you say when talking about finding a voice. I think that writing essay after essay in college can really stifle your true voice, so it is great to be able to write where we can really express ourselves!

    • Agreed! Looking back now, I can definitely see where my formal essays lacked voice, though they were always well written based on the topic. It’s definitely something I’m going to have to continue to work on.

  4. First, I have always wanted to be one of those people who can listen to music while I write, but, alas, I am not. Mozart might work, though…I’ll give it a try. Second, I love the idea of writing questions at the end of your blog and I’m going to steal it from you. (Thanks!) Third, I thought your post was thoughtful and interesting. I, too, discovered my writing voice when I was writing home about my experiences in London. Traveling just does that to you I guess! How was Wales, by the way?!
    -Jessica

    • Mozart was oddly relaxing, and without the lyrics it provides just enough background noise to block everything else out without being intrusive. Definitely give it a whirl! And steal away! I actually saw a question posted to the end of someone else’s blog that I commented on this week, and I thought I’d try to make it a habit because it really gave me a starting point in my response. šŸ™‚ Someone finally asked about Wales! šŸ™‚ Haha. It was wonderful. For a girl who grew up on a farm and had never been out of the country, it was an even more astounding experience. And it sure made for a lot of writing material, though sadly I didn’t blog or keep a journal while I was there!

  5. Keeley Thode

    I think it is very interesting hearing what everyone has to say about whether or not they listen to music while they write. I agree with Jessica, that although I want to be able to listen to music while I write, it is just not a reality for me. I have tried several times, and it always seems to be more of a distraction.

    ~Keeley~

  6. Chelsea

    Oh my gosh. Lykke Li Pandora station FTW. Not just for writing but for everything.

    Also, I think you have a great, strong voice in these posts. I love using ellipses and dashes in writing because I feel like they make text seem more like speech – I really enjoyed how you used asterisks instead of just bolding a word because it gave you a more unique, speaking quality. It’ll be interesting to see if your use of voice will carry over into your more formal assignments after writing in this blog for a bit!

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