What Makes Your Voice Valuable?

If you want to make a living doing something you love, it needs to be valuable. When that something is writing, it comes down to your voice.

As a new writer, I think an awful lot about my voice. Where is it coming from, what does it offer, and why is it useful to anybody?

What all this leads up to is, will anybody want to pay for it?

When I think about what to write, what to do, or where to draw inspiration from, sometimes I find myself with an incessant thought.

I am limited by the choices I made in my life.

It may seem obvious, and perhaps it doesn’t bother you like it does me. But I wonder how it would be if I spent more time learning about writing when I was younger. How would it be if I had never gone to school and just traveled instead? Will I ever get to see Amsterdam? How can I find my true voice if I cannot live out every possible option and learn from them all?

Maybe you feel like this sometimes as well.

The Sad Truth Is…

Choices you make do limit you. You cannot possibly live as a world traveler and also live as someone who is intimate with one forest or city your whole life. You cannot have children and also be someone that lived entirely without children…it is simply impossible.

The Happy Truth Is…

This does not have to be seen as a weakness.

We are all in the same boat. We make some choices and sacrifice of others. We can’t all be everything, and that is why we make a pretty amazing puzzle when you look at everyone from a distance.

The trouble happens when all of the beautiful little pieces go around hating themselves and trying to be like the other little pieces. It won’t fit together that way; it can’t build anything.                                                  Instead, why not realize what you have done to limit and therefore enhance yourself and stand on those experiences for strength?

Realize that those ten years you spent in the Amazon not getting a degree mean that you can share information that people with degrees don’t have access to. The ten years you spent getting a degree instead of going to the Amazon give you talents as well.

But Can I Experience The Things I Am Missing?

Yes. Yes you can. Except instead of living those realities for as long as you would without your current choices, you can get a little taste and savor it. Use it for your writing or your art as just that; a taste. Some flavoring. Not the very foundation you stand upon.

You can take a small trip the Amazon; you can take a class with someone who got the degree. You can get a taste of what other choices would feel like by experiencing them in pieces while you stand solidly on the things you have devoted actual time to. Anything is possible; it’s just that every single thing at once is not.

When we make the make the most of our choices, we contribute to keeping the puzzle vibrant and colorful; full of truth and honesty rather than drivel and insincerity.

Anyone can try to be like everyone, but nobody can be you. Nobody has your unique set of circumstances and choices, nobody has your specific way of relating with the world. These are the real things that you have to offer.

That is what makes them valuable. That is what gives you, and me, the power to speak with authenticity and share things of value with the world. Provided that we are honest and not faking it, or trying to sound or look like every other person in our field. That is how we lose who we are and become rather worthless.

Are there choices you have made that make you feel that you stand out from the crowd?

Are there things that used to be limitations that now can become strengths and powerful aspects of your voice?

Are there choices you wish you made, but can still experience in some way? I would love to know!


40 thoughts on “What Makes Your Voice Valuable?

  1. As an aspiring writer who has often wondered what would have happened if I had set off travelling instead of going to college, this post makes a lot of sense. Personally, I’m currently power saving every extra dollar I can so in a couple of years I can take off travelling for an extended period of time.I also love groups like Meet, Plan, Go! which encourages career weary Americans to take a break to travel the world. While I do think that sitting here in the same portion of the world for an extended period of time and building the relationships I have definitely haven’t hurt my ability to write and give a special flavor to my story telling, I do think the experience of getting out there and experiencing things you might not otherwise ever experience definitely has it’s benefits! While stuck in this part of the world, I have managed to take weekend trips to large cities away from home and hit up conventions that I thought were interesting, both for work and for play. Not to mention researching and exploring other places over the internet, and making friends online in different countries!

    • Hi River! I hope your money-saving goes awesomely and that you get to have some great times, especially since you know that writing is what you want to do- you’ll probably get the most of all those cool details as you travel! 🙂

  2. Stories that impact are universal. Why is that? We all put our pants on pretty much the same way. Some do it in South America, or Australia, Germany, and so forth. The truth transcending our individual experiences resonates with others if the truths we speak are authentic. Truths (choices), I guess, come in flavors. That’s why we read, to taste the difference.

  3. As of TODAY I’m reading Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer. How’s that for timing? And what I read just before reading your wonderful post was a bit where Palmer found himself, age 35, discouraged about the path his life was taking and uncertain where to go next. He was working at Pendle Hill, a Quaker institution, and the Quakers kept telling him to have faith and (they promised) “way will open.” But way did NOT open, and finally Palmer went to a wise Quaker woman “well known for her thoughtfulness and candor.” He explained his dilemma, and Ruth told him that in 60-odd years of being a Quaker, “way” had never opened in front of her, either. Palmer’s spirit sank. “But a lot of way has closed behind me,” she added with a grin, “and that’s had the same guiding effect.”

    Until a way has closed behind you, they are all still open in front of you.

    • Vicki, what funny timing! That is a really cool way to look at it, and that book sounds fantastic. I didn’t really think about it like that and yet, I did think about it like that perhaps. I feel like it ties in a little with what Janis was saying, too- that our responses are limitless, and those are what we have the most power over in the moment- and the woman in her 60’s seemed to have a great way with responses. Very cool 🙂

  4. When I was in my late 20’s, I was very confused because I wanted to see the world, to be a child psychologist, but my path led me to working in the corporate world in NYC – and I didn’t like it very much. Now that I am in my middle years, I find no matter what choices we make, the ones that expands us or the ones that limit us, life’s has a way of giving us enough flavors to learn from and to write about.

    Enjoy reading your post! 🙂

    • Ah yes, the flavors. They are always there when we remember to taste them, especially in NYC! I used to want to do art therapy with kids, and similarly, ended up on a different path. And I agree- there will always be things to write about 🙂

  5. I believe that every one has a voice. That every one, no matter who, they are has some thing to teach, words of knowledge to impart to others. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me. I enjoyed receiving it and I hope that you will always keep sharing your strength and hope with the world. CM

  6. One way I have chosen to live is by having big picture ideas of where I want to be/what I want to be, but letting the details happen through life’s way of choosing for us. The equation for happiness in my life is in working toward a long term goal, yet enjoying the journey to get there. Leaving some things “up in the air” is how I stay interested in my own life and authentic in my own voice.

    When I take personality tests my weakness is that I lack “purpose” or goal direction. Nonsense! I just don’t get caught up in a set structure for my life.

    This is what makes my voice valuable. Not sure how that comes through in my writing though… I don’t think it does…. at least not yet… I think I am still trying to figure out my writing “style.”

  7. What great questions, and how relevant to my life right now. There are times I really feel limited by my experiences, and other times by my education. Writing is a powerful tool because I feel I can grow and learn with my words. I’ve been working lately on developing my voice. I start from a place I know and then explore things I don’t, keeping the same tone. It allows me to branch out into unknown areas and still feel comfortable. I’m hoping for a good mix of experience and education. What a great post!

    • I’m so glad you liked it! Ah, your voice is one of my favorites in the blogging world; I am happy for you that you are developing it, and, I must say, I just adore it how it is. I am always laughing after reading your posts 🙂

  8. I’m glad you found my latest post so I could find you! I am a social activist and am finding writing gets to people more than speaking outloud. Perhaps it is because we have time to listen better when we read. Shared this on my Pinterest board of favorite bloggers and on FB today. The line about pieces of puzzles resonated with me.

    • Thank you so much! I think you are right on about having more time when we read- we can read a sentence over and over until we understand, instead of reacting immediately. Also, we have more control as a reader than as a watcher or listener because we can simply look away if we want to. What a great way to carry through with activism, good for you!

  9. I agree with you, we have to make a living doing something that we enjoy. I believe that it is a disservice to society not to embrace our talents. After all, what are we on this planet for? We each have a voice that needs to be heard, whether through visual art, music, writing or whatever.

    • Totally! And even if we do something we don’t love for a long time to make money because we have to, we can still integrate that voice, through the way we do our job and our activities, because that voice is always happening and can be used in so many ways to affect the world around us.

  10. Pingback: i am so easily confused :) | kizzylee

  11. I have not gone to college and spent my time getting to know the God I want to write about. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the choices I’ve made–how they enhance and limit my experiences and myself. I like your suggestion about standing on the foundation of your experience and then taking a taste of other things as well. I want to do that.

    • I hope you have a fun time with it! You can do it creatively right in your own room, too, I think. Perhaps not as in-depth as traveling, but you can read a first-hand account of a type of life you are interested in, or something like that. Always remember your strengths 🙂

  12. Great post! We are all so unique. No one has seen all that our eyes have seen, and no one can explain things just like we do. It’s just about trusting our uniqueness enough to express it!

  13. Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your style. Having been around for 62 years I know all about that. For instance, my parents left Cuba when I was 11 years old. Talk about different pathways!

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