Saturday, October 31, 2009

Find Your Voice, Write your Passion (by Jodi Marie Robinson)

“Mom, I look ugly.” When I heard my young daughter speak those words, my heart broke into a million pieces. Did she really know what she was saying? How could she feel this way when she was absolutely beautiful--perfect in every way--as far as I was concerned. Ugly? Not my daughter. Shiny, silky brown hair, chocolate eyes, and lips people pay money to buy. It was time to reaffirm what real beauty was all about.

Any mother living in the 21st century knows that "feeling ugly or not pretty enough" is all too common. There are few words in the English language that when paired together can rip us to shreds, chew us up, and spit us out. "I look ugly. I'm not pretty. I don't like the way I look." These are just a few them. My daughter's comments shook me to the core. With all the love and compassion a mother could show a daughter who was hurting, I reassured her she was beautiful! And in no way "ugly." My intervention worked. At least for that moment.

Knowing that my little girl, still so very young and inexperienced, was experiencing “the world” for the first time was so hard to accept. Why? Because I knew what was ahead of her. And it really wasn't going to get any easier. Imagine growing up in a world that bombards young girls, and women, with images that tell them they have to look, dress, and act a certain way in order to be beautiful. Imagine trying to find out who you are and who you want to become in a media obsessed culture that values fleshy fashions, super models, and body makeovers, more than it values true beauty--beauty from within. Self-esteems and self-worth are suffering greatly. So, what is a mother to do? What is a woman of faith to do? Well, THIS mother decided to write. I found my voice. And that voice compelled me write about what really makes a woman beautiful. And I believe that something is virtue.

In a nutshell, virtue is the essence of true beauty. And my voice, if you will, compelled me to write about The Beauty of Virtue (chapter one from "Women of Virtue"). That voice is what motivated me to keep writing even when I wanted to give up and say, "Writing is just too hard." I'm being honest when I say that I didn't set out to be a writer. That is until I found my voice.

So, as a writer, how do you know when you've found your voice? Well, when those thoughts flowing into your brain simply won't turn off no matter what you do; when everything you see, or touch, or hear, relates to what you're writing about and you constantly have to jot down scribbly notes to yourself so that when you have time to sit down at your computer you can write about what you just experienced; when you can't NOT write or you'll die; that's when you know you've found your voice. It's exciting when it happens. And, at the same time, it is also strangely nerve wracking. That "voice" opens up inside you a thrilling new passion and at the same time an intense fear. You worry, "What if the voice goes away? What if tomorrow I can't write? What if...."

May I offer some advice? Remember that when the "what if's" start to annoy need to go back to the moment you discovered you had this voice. And remind yourself that you were given this voice for a reason. It's your voice. It's your reason for writing. It's your motivation for picking up that pen or for typing on that keyboard. If you start to lose your voice, close your eyes and go back to that moment in time when you were forever changed. Reach within you and pull it out. Remember why you started writing and why you can't ever stop.

Each writer's voice is unique. While some writer's voices carry stories of fantasy, adventure, or history. Other's voices articulate motivational, informational, or instructional messages that teach. Whatever the purpose of your voice, don't be afraid to listen to it. My voice happens to focus on the spiritual aspects of beauty and teaching about virtue. My voice compels me to write about how virtue helps us feel more beautiful and how we can experience true happiness and joy in ways never imagined! That’s not what the magazines are selling, but that is what is real and what is eternally true. That is the voice I listen to and that is why I write.

The beauty of virtue has become my passion. It is my reason for writing. I recently received an email from a woman who said: “After reading your book, ‘Women of Virtue’, for the first time in my 37 years, I am getting a glance of who I am.” Ironically enough, this woman is a beauty queen. She is outwardly beautiful. But, because of MY voice...MY written words on page...she is discovering that there is more to beauty than outward appearance. That gives me great satisfaction. It reaffirms to me that what my voice speaks to me is true. It reaffirms my voice has a purpose.

My tip for the day is to write about what your voice tells you to write about. Whether you're writing a novel, a "how to" book or a blog, listen to that story inside your head; that message that keeps reoccurring; that voice that refuses to quiet down. Let it speak and let it flow. You need your voice to write and your voice needs the written word to be heard.

Henry Winkler said it best: "Your mind knows only some things. Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything. If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path.”

In the coming months, I will share more of my experiences in writing "Women of Virtue." I look forward to writing for the Cedar Fort Authors Blog each month. Check back for my postings. And, have a wonderful week!

Sincerely, Jodi Marie Robinson

Author, "Women of Virtue"


One Cluttered Brain said...

Thanks for the advice! I signed up for Naniwrimo so I'll need it! I'm excited. I like writing, it's the editing part I loathe.

JoAnn Arnold said...

Very well said. Thank you for the timely advice. I needed it