I heard something interesting in a Warren Littlefield interview last week. That in itself is not surprising, the ex-NBC executive had a hand in a huge chunk of my teenage television viewing. He has interesting things to say even though he was clearly not talking naturally or off-the cuff in the interview- there was a rehearsed aura to his speech. What was surprising is that the thing he said was of value to any and all artists. Executives, especially television executives aren’t exactly known for their creative spirit.
Find a voice and hang on.
That’s how you survive as an artist. Find your voice and cling to it for dear life. Don’t let others dissuade you from following your voice. If you know what voice you’re trying to cultivate as an artist, it’s easier to make decisions, it’s easier to say no to people, it’s easier to stand up for your work, it’s easier to do your work. Find your voice and work to making that voice as strong as it can be.
I spent many years trying to fight my voice, trying to write in a style other people might like. It was frustrating and heart breaking. And still no one was interested in my work. I just spun my wheels never moving forward, never growing. And then I tried writing in my voice in a town that didn’t like the way I write. That was hard. They didn’t like my writing voice to the point I thought my voice was wrong. It wasn’t, and it isn’t. It took awhile to find the right venue for my voice but I didn’t give up. There are still those who don’t like what I do, but now I know better. I know who I am as a writer, I know my voice and I love it. I shout it. I stand by it. It makes my creative life whole.
What’s your voice? How do you cultivate it? How do you express it?