Connecting with others through writing is both challenging and rewarding. Written communication can be rich, engaging, and deep. But if you struggle to feel like yourself when writing, whether it’s an email or an article, it’s easy to feel disconnected and frustrated with the written word.
Your individual voice needs to shine through in your writing to fully connect with people – hearing a strong and clear voice allows your reader to feel welcomed into the inner sanctum.
If you’re unsure how to find your voice, this daily writing ritual can help you connect to yourself and bring clarity to your communication.
Keep a cyclical journal
Journal writing might not sound earth-shattering, but this quick and practical approach is refreshing and allows you to easily track your progress over time.
What is a cyclical journal?
In this type of journal keeping, the writer (that’s you!) uses the same dated page year-after-year until space runs out. The beauty of this approach is it requires conciseness to save room for future years and provides an effortless look back through your writing journey as the years go by.
How does it work?
Choose a large journal and designate one page per day and two writing exercises. I suggest spending 5-10 minutes each on these two exercises:
- Describe your surroundings in detail.
Focus on whatever strikes your fancy – the light through the window, the weather, the texture of the overripe banana on your kitchen counter – and write to paint a picture in someone else’s mind. Stretch your mind and include taste, smell, texture, colour, and temperature. You’ll experience a special kind of joy when you read previous year’s entries and find yourself transported back in time to your own kitchen table.
- Write in someone else’s voice.
Choose a writer you’re familiar with and spend 5 minutes in their voice. You may choose any topic you like or even rewrite an existing piece of work. The important thing is to feel around inside their vocabulary, syntax, and sentence structure. Consider how this writer builds a story or an article, and if it feels natural or unnatural for you. Beginning to understand the building blocks that other writers use will help you to find your foundation. As a bonus exercise, choose a writer you hate and try to work out what doesn’t work for you.
If a blank journal is intimidating, you might want to consider purchasing a “sentence a day” journal with pre-set writing prompts. This one is a great example, but many are available online and in bookstores. You can also choose to designate one page per week, removing the pressure of a daily exercise. This is about forming a rewarding ritual for yourself, not creating additional pressure to complete a task.
As you write each day or each week, you’ll begin to see patterns emerging – perhaps you are drawn to describing the minutiae of nature, or the conversations of your children. Your strengths in writing dialogue might emerge. Areas where you shy away from can become development opportunities. Most of all, the more you write, the easier your internal essence will translate naturally onto the blank page.