Your Authentic Voice
You may recall that back in our February Writers’ Guild Conversations: Tips and Techniques newsletter, we discussed how to distinguish between facts, opinions and beliefs claims and how to attribute these various items in article writing. This type of writing is very important, but the precision required can cause us to feel a little boxed in—as if we’re not using our authentic voice.
Regardless of what we are writing, we need to use our authentic voice. Our authentic voice is easier to incorporate in some writing genres than others, but it is an important ingredient in all types of writing. When we write with our authentic voice, our reader feels like we are connecting with him or her beyond a surface level. We want the reader to feel our heart behind the writing, which comes out through our authentic voice.
In ENGL 1281 Writers’ Guild Training – Fundamentals, there is a helpful section on authentic voice. It is shared within the context of the “4-F Formula” for writing. In a nutshell, the 4-F Formula describes four qualities of writing that are dynamic and engaging:
1. Factual, meaning our writing is accurate and properly attributed when necessary.
2. Friendly, meaning our writing is approachable by the intended reader.
3. Fun, meaning our writing is engaging.
4. Fresh, meaning we use an authentic voice when we write.
Here’s what the course says about Fresh and authentic writing:
The last F, “Fresh,” opens the door to a dimension of your writing about the teachings [of the ascended masters] that you may not have fully considered in the past. So let’s explore a little history.
As chelas of the masters, we have been taught that when doing outreach, we must stay close to the original sources, i.e., the masters and their messengers. We’ve already looked at how important it is to stay factual in what we share with others.
However, in the quest to stay factual and not take personal accolades for what we share, there’s a certain formula that has crept into our speaking and writing about the teachings. It is this: “Mother said… (referring to Elizabeth Clare Prophet), or “Mark said… (referring to Mark Prophet), or “Master X said in his dictation given on… (date) that….”
These factual references certainly have their place in our writing. However, you can imagine that an entire article written in this vein would be boring to read. Moreover, the reader could question the writer’s authenticity. “Is this writer just parroting what somebody else told him?” or “Does this writer not have a voice or convictions of her own? Where’s the real person behind all these statements that I can relate to?”
People these days are flooded with information. A lot of it is soulless material, misinformation, and marketing-driven content. In the midst of growing alienation, people are looking for “real stuff” and “real people” who they can relate to because their messages come from the heart.
So, to be believable, we have to be authentic.
Being authentic means that we have to assimilate the teaching we are writing about and that we have to live it. Only then will we be able to share genuinely from the heart and from the richness of our being in a way that readers will find believable.
This means, breaking out of the box—the “Mother said” or “Morya said” formula. This can be scary. It may feel like we are breaking an agreement with the masters, or that we are doing something we should not be doing. Yet, modern readers demand authenticity, and unless we explore ways to showcase our own authenticity in our writing, what we write is likely to have little effect on our readers.
One simple exercise we can use to explore our authentic voice is to write about a spiritual concept as if we were explaining it to a child. Depending on the child’s age, we may only be able to share a few details about the concept. But children respond to the heart quality found in simple words. And it’s this heart quality that generates our own authentic voice.
Here is one example. Many are familiar with the story of Prince Siddhartha and how he ventured out on his own to discover the answer to suffering—achieving the enlightenment of the Buddha in the process. Usually when this story is told, it includes a level of complexity that isn’t appropriate for small children. But author Andrea Miller captured the Buddha’s story well in a few simple sentences in a children’s book called The Day the Buddha Woke Up. Here is a short passage from this book. Take note of the simple words she used to convey deep meaning:
Finally, Siddhartha sat down under a tree and simply breathed in and out.
His mind cleared.
His heart filled.
He saw that happiness is always possible.
Just enjoy this moment without wishing it was a different moment.
When the morning star rose in the sky, Siddhartha was the Buddha.
He was awake. He was free.
Can you feel the Miller’s authentic voice and heart in these simple words? She does an excellent job of distilling complex truths into simple words that are easy for children to understand—and she does so with care. It’s a lesson we can all learn from when writing about the complex concepts of the teachings for any audience.
For some, incorporating heart and an authentic voice in writing comes naturally. But for others, this might be something that requires practice. We may need certain outer conditions for us to be able to access this authentic part of ourselves—things like silence, proper daylight, a clean desk, etc. We may need to be aware of certain inner strengths and weaknesses—and to be able to go after those weaknesses to bring our heart flame into balance. But the more we strive to connect with and pour our heart out into our writing, the more that our authentic voice will shine. And it is this authentic voice that the reader will respond to time and time again.
If connecting to your heart or sharing your heart through your writing is not the easiest for you, consider joining us for our Summer Summit University Seminar, July 6-9. It’s called “Become the Magnet of the Heart,” and in it we will explore how to deepen the connection to our own unique heart flame. You can find all of the details and register by clicking the button below.
We hope this conversation on authentic voice inspires you to practice authenticity in your writing this month. Next month, we’ll look at how to identify your ideal reader once you’ve found your authentic voice. Until then, may the Fiat of God Mercury be with you!