Monday, March 29, 2010

Mama Bean is listening to the voices in her head

I am wondering if other people experience the phenomenon I call "The Writer's Voice." This is the voice I hear in my head when writing, and use to read aloud when reviewing and editing. I have now developed a distinct Blogger's Voice, that is a little different from what I might hear when composing a formal essay (or reviewing Papa Bean's assignments.)

I am struck by blogging topics randomly, often while driving, and compose paragraphs on a virtual screen in my head. (Don't worry, it doesn't distract from my driving, I am not a danger to my Fellow Commuter.) I have not yet perfected the ability to expediently get those paragraphs onto a real screen on my real computer into my real blog. This would be helpful, because I don't always remember the genius stuff I come up with on Country Road 2-0-whatever. And then I get frustrated, and don't want to write the post anymore, if it can't be exactly as wonderful as my flash of inspiration at 7 am yesterday. (It bears noting that whatever I've forgotten by the time I get to a keyboard likely wasn't as Amazing and World-changing as I think it was, or I would have remembered it.)

Every blogger has a voice. The Pioneer Woman has a distinct country charm that is inimitable, and she talks just like she writes. MckMama has particular idioms and phrasing that identify her in my mind, but when I finally saw an interview with her, she spoke nothing at all how I'd "heard" her writing in my head. If I can personally identify my own writing voice that is separate and distinct from my normal/everyday voice, how much more obvious is this difference to other people?

Previous blogs notwithstanding, I am relatively new to the blogging world. Certainly, as a writer-not-just-a-reader in the momblogging community. Because I have watched the momblog culture change and develop, I do get a little navel-gazingly meta about my blogging activities. As it was drilled into me during Technical Writing 203 (a BSc. degree requirement at the University of Cowtown, for reasons unclear to this day) you must Write For Your Audience. And so I consider my readers, though it feels presumptuous to do so, but I know I'm not writing this just for myself, or I wouldn't be pasting it all around the World Wide Internet, holyrunonsentencebatman *pause* I consider my readers, and I consider my voice. And since I'm looking at my bellybutton anyway, I pick out the lint while I'm at it.

I also wonder if the Blogger's Voice as subset of the Writer's Voice is really just a piece of the Performance Persona. I'm sure actors are aware of a particular actorly voicing they use, apart from a role, just that they use as their image of a Performer. Maybe an extreme example is the Beyonce/Sasha Fierce dealy. Or even just the way celebrities behave on talk shows. I've performed in a variety of (primarily musical) ways since childhood, so my performance persona is pretty developed, for better or worse. (It's taken time to stamp out the worse, and make it all for the better. Bygones. Or maybe a post for another time.) So maybe I hear this blogging-Mama Bean voice as part of that, and it's not something other writers waste much time considering.

And that's not to say I see this blog as some sort of performance. What I mean is, I understand, maybe more acutely than others, when I am creating something for public consumption, as it were. Right now, that public as I know it contains a diversity of people, from my husband, other family and close friends, to fellow Prairie Valley City moms, and purely online friends and fellow social-media-lites. If more people join the fun, the faces will increasingly blend together. And what will I think about my voice then? That question could keep me staring at my navel for many hours to come. In the meantime, I'll just keep typing out what the voices in my head tell me to :)


  1. Currently taking tech writing and yes, we do need to write for the audience, but really our audience becomes those that want to read what we write. The writer in this case comes first, then the audience. If you get hung up on your audience, you'll never write from the heart, and will always question yourself. Oh yeah, also new to blogomania. The voices are good, they have all the ideas!

  2. I can relate to the Performer voice. As a teacher, I have spent years (trying)to perfect the Teacher Voice (and the Teacher Look). I am hoping to have both down pat before the terrible twos hit.
    In case you're taking a poll, I hear *your* voice in your writing. I can just imagine how the sentences would sound, and when I do hear you speak irl, I imagine the words on a page. Strange?