Call it style or call it your look or the feel or whatever you want – we are talking about Voice. Writing or art, it doesn’t matter.
Your voice is the bit of you that is scientifically undetectable, until you have found it. It’s the little curls of lines and the way you turn a phrase. It grows and shifts and evolves over time. It’s the innate YOUness that radiates through your work.
To find out what your voice is:
1. Take a selection of the pieces (words or art) you just love from the last few years and look at them together.
2. Ask: Which are the ones I’m proud of? Which excite me?
3. Look for: commonalities between 3-4 pieces (or more – you’re looking for a pattern, be it color or line work or how that line curves, or a general vibe that you can’t name but you can see; you’re looking for how you weave a sentence together and how that works with its neighbours to become a paragraph and a page or a chapter; you’re looking for how you whittle words stylistically and when it works and when it doesn’t).
4. Consider: what don’t I like and how do I address that? Remember to give it some breathing room: do not analyze the thing you made or wrote last night.
5. Forget it all and just keep working. Your youness can’t be nailed down and it shouldn’t be caged. You need to keep working and it will show itself more and more. The issue is when you focus on style or voice over the practice of writing. Just make and let the voice rise up.
6. When you have stopped trying to “find your style”, your style will somehow find you.
7. Enjoy the process.
8. Repeat every few months or years.
9. Remember to show up.