I love writing. Whether it’s a comedy set, a script or a blog, I have always been drawn towards expressing myself through the written form because of the freedom that it grants you.
Something I have always struggled with is finding my voice. I read a lot of blogs and watch a lot of amateur stand up. It’s a clear indication that someone is new to creative writing when they adopt a persona of a ‘blog writer’ or a ‘stand up comedian’. This usually manifests itself in the same way: with a blogger writing in quite a detached and formal way, and comedians sounding exactly like those who influence their stand up. When I dabbled in stand up comedy, this was my single biggest obstacle. I would try to write jokes but I would always revert to this ‘other’ voice, a ‘different’ me. Essentially, I would be writing what I thought people found funny about me, rather than what I actually found funny. I discovered that when I went on stage and was forced to just ‘be funny’, I got a far better reaction from audiences. However, whenever I tried to write any of this down, everything got lost in the translation. It was a challenge that I was never able to overcome in the short amount of time I tried my hand at it, and I eventually resorted to just improvising every night instead – which was fine because I was running my own event – but it did not give me the means to do comedy at any other place. Crowd control I could handle (the easy part), actual comedy was harder.
And this problem also became apparent in the many blogs I have started and then ditched over the years. The way I would write would be very forced – very rehearsed. I would be writing as a ‘blogger’ not at myself. Authenticity is massively important in the blogging world, and it was something I was never able to quite capture. I tried many different exercises to try to deal with this problem, but nothing really worked. I have now decided that with this blog I am just going to keep writing regardless until I get better at it.
It’s just very easy when you first start writing to assume you will be good at it. If you have an opinion, or if you consider yourself to be a funny person, you assume that this is half of the battle done. But it isn’t. Putting those thoughts on paper is a whole other process – in which much can get lost, warped or caricatured.
I am interested to hear if anybody else has had these kinds of problems and if so, what they did to overcome it. Is it simply a case of mastering your craft, or are there tricks and questions you can ask yourself to find your authentic voice? Feel free to leave suggestions for what’s worked for you in the comments section below.