What is a creative voice? How do I discover it? I’ve been pondering it for quite a bit. I thought about what it would look like to others and perhaps what the dictionary definition would be.
When I think about our voice I think about our freedom of speech and self-expression. I see it as an opportunity to share our values and beliefs, cares and hurts to the world. So where does the creative part fall into this? It’s a way of expressing our voice through our own art form. Having a voice doesn’t necessarily mean being a politician or public speaker. Your art form is a voice, whether you’re an artist, a writer, someone who loves fashion, a musician, and the list goes on. A creative voice can take on so many forms. I went on my own personal journey of discovering my creative voice and it has been one of the most freeing experiences of my life. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
1) Find your passion, know your voice
The first step in discovering your creative voice is to know what you’re passionate about. Some of us know from a very young age what we’re meant to be and what drives us. Some of us are simply born with natural talent which leads us into our passions. I personally didn’t wake up one day and suddenly have a talent or passion for something. It took a lot of self-discovery and growth to figure it out and it seems day by day I’m still on that journey.
Growing up I tried a million things. I tried being an artist like my sister. Let’s just say that one didn’t last long. It only took my youngest sister telling me my house shingles looked like mouse feet to realize my stick men were probably the only decent thing I would ever be able to draw. There were many other attempts at self-discovery from jewellery making, to sewing, and many more. I learned those things weren’t going to work out for various reasons, like some seriously butchered fabric and some terribly touched up curtains. It took some time but I finally discovered my voice in my passions and the different ways I express myself. The things that gave me release were writing, fashion and music.
Tip #1: Have patience with yourself; you may not find it overnight
2) Take it out of hiding
I discovered so many things about myself through writing, fashion and music. I used to believe those things where meant to be hidden. They weren’t really a form of creativity, were they? My writing was simply a way to get out of my own head. As an introvert I often found living in my mind and I never stopped thinking. When I put my thoughts down on paper it allowed me to release whatever I kept replaying in my head and move past it. I could calm my mind with simple words on a page. Fashion was merely a way of expressing myself. Being so introverted at times I felt misunderstood and alone. Fashion was a way of saying something about myself without actually having to talk. Music was and still is in a sense just another form of release. When I needed an escape from life or my day I would go to my room and sing and play the chords I taught myself on my keyboard.
I never thought about posting my outfits or sharing my writing; the thought of others seeing my thoughts or struggles clearly written on a page was a frightening thought. One day though I allowed my sister to read some of my writing; they were simply self-reflection pieces that I had written on the nights I couldn’t sleep. She loved them much to my surprise which encouraged me to share them with others. She loved the self-expression and how much she felt she and others could relate. I remember telling her, “I’ll share my writing when you share your art.” There would come a point where we would share all of it, but it took time.
Tip #2: Sharing your passions opens up that creative voice
3) You have something to offer
“The one thing you have about you that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. -Unknown
Something extremely important in finding your creative voice is knowing and reminding yourself that you have something to offer. It’s really easy to pass off our talents and passions as unimportant because someone you know has a similar gift or in your mind they would have a greater impact on others. I often thought my sister was the creative one because she’s an amazing artist or that my youngest sister was more talented because she had a much higher singing range than I did. I didn’t feel like I had a creative voice; I mean all I really had was the ability to express myself through words and clothing. I could sing, but not like my sister. Ever have those thoughts?
It’s easy to start comparing your talents and gifts to others. When we do so we lose our own creative voice because we’re no longer sharing and speaking from our voice but wishing we had someone else’s. What helps me to remember I have something to offer is knowing that there is only one me; I can’t express someone else’s story and they can’t express mine either. We all have something to offer the world because our creative voice is unique to us. No one else can share your story with the same depth and understanding as you. I had to realize that my writing meant something, even if it impacted one person, it was important. It’s so crucial that you realize that about yourself and your voice. It matters and it has something to offer the world around you.
Tip #3: Don’t compare with others, you can only work with who you are
4) Surround yourself with the right people
Another step in discovering and using your creative voice is to surround yourself with people who challenge you to grow. I had people around me who pushed and encouraged but also challenged me. Sometimes it was in a simple comment and other times emails I received from friends who were impacted by something I wrote. It’s important for you to have people around you to support what you’re doing. I had some really key people in my corner encouraging me along the way until I ended up starting a blog with my sister. We feature her art, my writing and our fashion. It’s so freeing when you’ve found the very thing that brings you such joy and to be able to share it with the world is a gift in and of itself.
Whether it’s a quote I have written, a full-fledged personal reflection, 0r an outfit we have worn, we share it on our blog and we love seeing the impact it has on others. Looking back a few years, I would have never shared my writing or fashion on any social media sites or with the people in my life. I was trying very hard not to be noticed. I was too afraid of the judgments others might have, but when I surrounded myself with people that encouraged and saw the potential in me and my passions, my creative voice grew and was free to be expressed.
Tip #4: People are important to your journey
5) Be real
My last key would be to be real. I know it sounds cliché and we’ve all heard this phrase before with all the movements encouraging individuality, but it’s so important that you’re real with your voice. It’s meant to be used authentically. No one wants to pay a huge sum of money for a fake art piece. People want to see the real you behind your passions. They want to relate to you in some way and see themselves through what you’re sharing.
Allowing your vulnerability to be seen isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s human. It can be a scary thing to be vulnerable, but I found every time I was real and vulnerable with my voice I got a lot of positive feedback because people want your authenticity. It gives you the opportunity to impact so many more lives with your voice, because people will trust your honesty.
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
Start your journey
I’ve given you the five steps that helped me to find my creative voice. It can often feel like a long journey so my last piece of encouragement would be to ignore the fear; I know this first hand. Don’t allow fear to stop you from sharing your creative voice or allowing it to be seen; it’s needed and important. The reason I say ignore it is because I’m all too aware that at times no matter how hard we try we can’t seem to “shake it off”. So instead of giving in, I simply ignore it. To this day it’s still not always easy for me to share my writing. I often feel the fear rising up at the thought of others reading what I’ve written or even seeing my outfit posts on social media, but I ignore it and in the end the positives outweigh the fear. I hope these steps help you to get a little closer to discovering your creative voice.
Written by Kariane Monfils