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Find your own voice
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Find your own voice

After 25 years, I returned to university recently as a nervous new student ready to explore a lifelong passion - art.

The class title, Finding Your Visual Voice, appealed. Despite spending most of my career extolling the benefits of honest writing, I've forgotten how to express myself honestly through other media.

Art is a whole other language for communicating. As with writing, technical skills are only half the story. The real challenge is hearing your own voice over the loud stories in your head borne of fear, inhibition, self-consciousness, habit, perfectionism, laziness or socialisation.

Just speaking plainly and openly is challenging enough let alone writing authentically, particularly if you've constricted your style to suit the culture around you.

Academic, corporate and government writers must take extra care to protect their personal voices from being steadily strangled by gobbledygook, jargon and political correctness.

I've landed in hot water more than once for speaking out, both verbally and in text. (Long-term readers will remember the ramifications of sharing my views on Mr Murdoch and September 11.)

I suspect the trick to creating honest art, as with honest writing, is to just be yourself and pretend nobody will ever see your work.

Working quickly often helps jammed-up writers as does writing about a passion. If you don't have conviction about your subject matter, forget it - you can't fake "authentic" voice.


28/7/2005

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