Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Inner Voice

Is it possible to lose your inner voice?

I have struggled with writing for the last few years and I always come back to the same excuses or issues -- what comes out on paper isn't "good", the words feel rushed, I don't have clarity in my thoughts, ideas are lacking full development....

This evening I was watching a new show, The Carrie Diaries.  It is the story of Carrie Bradshaw before Sex and the City.... an 80's teenage Carrie, which is quite funny, and reminds me of my childhood in the 80's so much.  I was never a big fan of Sex and the City but I did enjoy the inner voice the audience is exposed to when Carrie wrote her columns for the NY paper. That same inner voice is there in The Carrie Diaries. It isn't as polished as the adult Carrie but you can clearly see where the "voice" comes from.  For some reason this made me think back to my own writing and the concern that maybe my issue isn't that I'm incapable of slowing down or lacking creativity but rather my inner voice is lost. 

I have a Bachelor's degree in English and had to write quite a few papers at one time.  I remember when I went back to school to finish that degree, the first few papers were the hardest for me.  It was almost as if I was writing for the first time...  after a couple of semesters I was back in the routine and whipping out an A paper was no big deal.  I found my inner voice again then.

In 2005 I divorced my ex-husband of 10 years and used a blog as a therapeutic way to deal with all my grief.  I wrote a lot that year, maybe more than I ever had in previous years.  The blog was taken down a long time ago but I did develop quite the following over time.  I can't imagine that my little insignificant divorce mattered that much to people but the one thing that I did hear was how raw and revealing I was in my posts.  Because it was a form of therapy for me, I couldn't not be revealing; I was trying to heal.  I do think that my inner voice was very strong at that time.  A close friend told me that I needed to read a certain author she had recently read because we both wrote in a similar style.  I never did read anything by that author and I couldn't tell you who it was now but to think that someone thought my writing style was good enough to match that of a published author was a nice compliment.

Another thing I've realized is I used to write because I couldn't speak how & when I wanted.  In fact I hated public speaking and felt awkward at it.  In the last several years, I've had to speak a lot and I've refined my presentation style, my comfort is built up when expressing myself and I have far more confidence.  Sometimes I'd rather talk than email.  Perhaps this has contributed to my inability to feel that my writing accurately captures my voice because my voice is out there.  Today I presented to a large group in the IT Department that I work for.  Several managers presented on topics as well and I was told after we were done that mine was the easiest to follow, most polished, and overall made the most impact to the audience.  I doubt I could have pulled that off a few years ago. 

So where does this leave me with writing?  I think I have to find my new inner voice for my new language style.  I have to figure out how I turn my every day language into my inner voice and hope that it is likeable enough that people might want to read what I have to say. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Eat Pray Love

I just finished watching Eat Pray Love for the second time.  I've been feeling out of touch with myself again-- with what brings me happiness or pleasure. I remembered that this movie is all about indulging in pleasure and figuring out who you are when lost.  I think the fact that this is a true story of Elizabeth Gilbert's life for a year makes it all the more interesting and inspiring. 

Early on in the movie, Gilbert is trying to describe how she feels to a friend, talking about how she wishes she had a hunger for something in life, like food.  Where she craved something, enjoyed it.  At that moment she felt nothing and needed to get back to feeling again.

I identify with this so much. 

When in Italy, Gilbert is talking with her new Italian friends and they are telling her that American's don't know how to have pleasure in their lives.  We have "Miller-time" and are brought up to believe we have to earn pleasure.  We work hard all week to earn sitting around in our pjs on the weekend watching tv.  I loved this explanation because it is so accurate and I believe we do have it so wrong.

So after my second viewing here are my thoughts --
  • I need to be making and eating more pasta (and not the canned stuff either)
  • Travel is really important to me, more important than having expensive things
  • Meditation helps - I need to make sure I do it more often
  • Gilbert went to a Hindu temple but I think a Buddhist temple would be better for me
  • You can never have enough linen in your wardrobe
  • Love doesn't have to be perfect to the outside world, just perfect to me
  • Doing things to help others helps me to feel better
  • Forgive myself - even if others can't. I have to live to with myself.
  • Do what makes me happy.  Don't do it because I should or it will make others be impressed with me or wait for validation from others to feel good about it.
  • A less conventional life is ok, cookie cutter living isn't for everyone
  • I need to write more