Who are You?
If you write a lot, I know you get tired of hearing your own voice. I call my tired writing voice, my “whiny voice.” I hate when I get into that mode. It’s when I drone on and think I’m being profound when really all I’m doing is complaining about some mental puzzle I’m not actually solving. Most of the time, I write from my comfortable, worn in, blue jean voice. I write the way I write after years of writing. It feels natural and I don’t think about deviating.
But that voice doesn’t encompass all of who I am. I’m a mother and a business owner, yes. But I’m also a southern Californian who prefers to nap on the beach than in a bed. I like flip flops and sun on my bare shoulders. Yet, I’m also a tireless snow shoveler in Ohio. And someone who lived in foreign countries. I’m smart about ideas and stupid about practicalities. I’m wise about relationships and hopelessly sentimental about love. I get angry at injustice and tearful in movies.
I can write from all these places… if I remember to.
Sometimes, just to change things up,
it helps to adopt an “opposite voice.”
Instead of being reasonable and clear, be unreasonable and chaotic – say things the way they feel rather than the way they should be thought. If you’re a mother, perhaps it’s time to write as the daughter that you also are. Perhaps you can write from the place of child, instead of adult.
Make a list. Who are you?
Write from one of those identities and see where it leads. You can also write from an inanimate space: tornado, ocean wave, breeze, fierce wind, tree, bulbs in spring. Or pair two things: good/bad, angry/peaceful. Give a freewriting space to each one consecutively.
Once you’ve tried these on your own, help your kids to make a list of identities and see if they can write from new ones. Kids are much more comfortable shedding their traditional voices. They may eagerly choose to write as a favorite character in a book (Luke Skywalker) or they may use the voice of a gaming role online or they may create a voice for themselves (southern belle). Imaginary voices can be just as productive as authentic ones, so don’t put any limits on this exercise.