What Is Your Voice?

Finding your voice is crucial in any artistic field. It is what makes you different from anyone else, what helps you stand out in a crowd.

In music, where the term “voice” originated, a singer’s voice is their calling card. You can often identify a song based on just a few notes from a distinctive vocal. It is even possible for a musician to have a distinctive instrumental sound — a musical voice with no actual voice!

Similarly, an author works hard to develop a literary voice. Once it has been discovered, you can often identify an author solely by reading a page of their work. The vocabulary that is used, description, dialogue, cadence, sentence and paragraph length all can help to uniquely identify a writer.

The same thing holds true for other artistic pursuits: drawing, painting, sculpting, acting, etc.

However, when an artist is just starting out, they don’t yet know what makes them stand out from others in their field. How are they different? It is only through repetition that one discovers, or uncovers, their own distinctive perspective.

The idea carries over outside the arts, as well. Each person is different, from their DNA to their experiences. The way that they express themselves, the way that they interact with the world, will be distinctive individually.

Anyone who has gained some experience in an area can have developed their own voice. For example, a veteran computer programmer, may produce code that you can identify (provided you can read code!). A mother with several older children will parent differently from any other mother.

What areas of expertise do you have? Have you developed a singular vision and expression, artistic or otherwise? What is your voice? Are there ways other than practice that you can develop it?

Related questions: How do you define success? What makes you you? How important is the repetition in our lives? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better?

How Can We Turn Sadness Into Constructive Action?

Sadness is paralyzing. And there are so many problems we face, including problems of great depth and wide variety, that sadness is almost inevitable.

The scope of issues like climate change or political corruption are so large that it seems like one person cannot make a difference.

On top of that, some issues can be downright heartbreaking. Seeing images or video of suffering refugee children, or abused animals in pain, is difficult. Entire towns have been destroyed following hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires, which is unspeakably sad.

When thinking about these and other obstacles we face, the urge to curl up under a blanket can be tremendous.

And yet, these problems call for action. Devastated towns need to be rebuilt. Injustice needs to be confronted. Sickness needs to be treated or cured.

Can these disparate realities be reconciled? Can we keep from being overwhelmed by despair, to do what needs to be done to make the world a better place for all of us?

How can we turn sadness into constructive action?

Related questions: How can we turn ideas into actions? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When do you need inspiration? How can you help? Is it a cruel world?