Using Your Outside Voice

Before publishing my very first blog post, I ran it past my teenaged daughter Bea.

She said, “Mom, you’re using your storyteller voice again.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Oh, you know…narrative, formal, soft and wise. You might think like that inside your head, but it’s not the way you talk.”

“How do I talk?”

“You’re funny.   And sassy.  Mom, your idea is good. Just say the same thing, only write like you’d say it. Write in the same voice you used to write Real Troopers.”

    Out of the mouth of babes. How many times were we told as children to use our Inside Voice, the demure, soft, polite, quiet voice that will offend and disturb no one?   I’ll tell you: LOTS.  Now my own child was urging me to use my Outside Voice, that of the goofball, smart ass, class clown. It’s the sometimes-too-loud voice that spills out of my mouth when I’m with my family and friends. As Bea observed, it’s the voice I used in my novel-in-progress, Real Troopers. Maybe I struck the right chord in Real Troopers because it’s about sassy funny Girl Scout leaders, written from the point of view of a middle-aged woman who is desperately trying to find her real voice.

That post is now much more a conversation than a story, and Bea was right—I like it so much better. Conclusion: I am happier when using my Outside Voice, in my backyard, in my living room, and in my writing. All I need to get going is to make my readers a virtual cup of coffee, and come to the table–or the computer–in my jammies for an early morning chat.

Hey, got a minute? Wanta cuppa? Cream or sugar?

Have you had to struggle to find your voice in your writing, or in your life?   Do you have any tricks you could share with us?

BTW: Adventures for the Faint of Heart is my daughter Bea’s writing blog.  I can almost hear her voice when I read it.  Here is the link if you want to look her up: http://adventuresforthefaintofheart.wordpress.com/

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