Monday, October 15, 2007

Poet is a Verb: Using My Voice

I originally was going to title this post "Finding My Voice." That wasn't quite right, though, because I found my voice years ago. However, just because I know where my voice is, doesn't mean I use it all the time nor in all of the ways it could/should be used.

When I woke up this morning, I read this opinion piece in the New York Times, which talks about young writers at Gustavus Adolphus College in western Minnesota, trying to find their own voices as writers. The author states that there is a certain amount of authority that comes with being a writer. I liked this piece, especially this morning, on a day when I choose to honor my writing practice, because you can read authority for arrogance, truly, because you do have to believe in the importance of your voice in order to be a writer.

If writing is this arrogant act, this belief in the significance in what I say and think, what are the things that I do to honor writing, in spite (or because) of this? Today, I will be honoring my writing in the most simple and obvious ways. I will be actually writing. And doing a lot of it, considering my major procrastination this past week. The biggest way that I can honor my writing practice is by actually writing. Putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard is the one true way that I honor and engage in my writing.

But once writing becomes a product, it needs to be put out there. Once my voice has been found and used, it needs to be heard. Because, why else would I write, except for other people to read it? The type of work that a writer has to accomplish in order to be heard can be a stark contrast to the act of writing, in some ways. Writing can be solitary and make you vulnerable -- publicizing your own writing can seem crass and may open yourself up to criticism. But, I think it's incredibly important to go that extra step, to further honor the work that I've done in creating a piece of writing.

One of the ways I may be helping to publicize my writing is to create business card. The image for today's post is the card that I designed at the Office Max website. For about 40 bucks, or 30 if it's all black and white, I can have 1000 calling cards that publicize my writing and help me to connect with other writers. When I went to the book fair this weekend, I realized how incredibly helpful it would have been to have business cards. I was meeting editors and more successful writers, and they had business cards to distribute. So why not me? By the way, I would love opinions on the look of the cards. I've blocked out my personal info, for safety reasons. The logo didn't translate perfectly, so there are actually lines all the way around the word "to", as if it were encased in a box.

Another way I can be engaging in this practice of using my voice, is to help other writers find and use their own. I've been struggling with whether or not to engage in a pretty big new project, and after a lot of thought and traveling to the book fair, I again thought why not me? So today, I will be also working on this project, in between playing with business cards and meeting my deadlines.

As I look at this list of actions that I will be doing today, I realize that writing is a lot of action and a lot of work, more than just sitting at my desk and pounding my thoughts into my computer.


Jo said...

I think the cards are a great idea and look pretty snazzy! Go you! I am very curious to read Wednesday's project update!

Jessica said...

Thanks for the feedback Jo. I think I'm going to go with a single color, so I can afford the pretty paper. :)