In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. – John Grisham
John Grisham is a smart guy and sells a lot of books. Whether or not you enjoy his chosen genre or style, you have to concede that he’s found his voice, and makes a good point here.
I’ve been preparing to present to a small group about finding one’s voice and passion in writing, and keep coming back to these words. While I haven’t asked him directly, I think I get what John meant here. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Several years ago, I started the Booze Bin column to give myself a voice. Incredible to think one can talk about what whittles down to fermented grape juice, malted barley, hops and yeast for so long, but that is neither here nor there. The real reason I started down this path was a feeling that my voice had, in some ways, gotten lost, like Peter Pan’s shadow.
I started my career with dreams of writing about a sundry of wine and food-related stories, but like many, I quickly gave in to the crushing financial demands of New York City. Put bluntly, I didn’t want my parents to subsidize my rent forever.
A career in PR seemed a more sustainable option and healthier balance, allowing me to pay for my rent AND work in my area of passion. I told myself that I’d still write – press releases, pitches, proposals, digital communications – and that was enough for a while. The one thing I missed, however, was an outlet for my voice, and that unquenchable desire to tell a story.
Finding, and maintaining your voice is a challenge for all writers. Allowing an authentic voice to shine through as a public relations professional is an even greater challenge, always walking the delicate tight rope of conviction and expressiveness, with an eye towards potential sensitivities and misperceptions.
While I can’t be as free as if this was my personal blog, the Booze Bin has afforded me a path to my voice, once again. I hope it shines through. I hope you can hear it now.