The other day in church I once again noticed something that has been bothering me for a few months. Silence standing next to me during all the hymns and songs of praise. My lone voice was cracking loudly without the beautiful voice that normally helps to drown out my off key singing. Glancing down at my 9 year old daughter I watched her, lips held together tightly while staring straight ahead. It wasn't long ago that her little voice sang solos at church and at school. Her voice strong and sweet, causing people to come over to her after mass to tell us how much they enjoyed her singing.
I finally asked her this last Sunday why she doesn't sing anymore. Her reply, "I just don't like to sing this kind of music anymore." My heart sank, but I nodded and didn't press her. Instead I remembered all the times I've lost my voice or let it waver.
As a writer everyone is always telling you that one of the most important things about writing is to find your voice. Authors will make comments like "I like your voice" or "You have a strong voice". I struggled with finding my voice and still sometimes wonder about it. People told me category romances were in, so I tried to tailor my writing to that. Then they'd say you need steamer love scenes, so I'd try to write that. I could write it, but I squirmed the entire time and then would die a thousand deaths thinking people I knew might read it! Then I'd be writing one way and people would say "I really think you are a more inspirational type of writer". Uggh, I felt like I was teetering and tottering back and forth trying to please everyone.
Somewhere along the line I just wrote what was in my heart and amazingly my writing took on a voice of it's own. Sometimes I doubt I'll ever be published because I'm not sure how much I'm willing to alter that voice. But at the same time writing is a process and I know that I had to filter through lots of different voices to find my true voice. And I am very open to suggestions and ideas on how to improve my writing, no matter what the voice. So maybe there is hope.
So, I'm praying that my daughter will eventually find her "true voice" again and realize it's okay to like singing in church. It's also okay to like singing Taylor Swift songs too, but she doesn't have to give up one for the other either. It's all about letting your "true voice" ring out!
Was it easy for you to find your "voice" or more of a trial and error process?