Do You Sound Like Yourself?
Miles Davis once said, “Man, sometimes it takes a long time to sound like yourself.”
It’s so true. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked back at my old writing and thought: Yeesh! I really wrote that?
I even felt that today about an article I wrote two months ago. I’ll probably say it about this one someday. Of course, I can’t usually tell as I’m writing that what I’m writing doesn’t sound like me. But later it’s so obvious—that I was trying too hard to sound smart or funny in order to impress people.
Reading this quote by Miles Davis was so comforting when I first came upon it. It reminded me that I’m not alone. Even the best artists throughout history have struggled through the process of revealing their true selves to the world.
So what can you do to sound more like yourself? The answer seems so simple. Don’t try so hard. Just be yourself. Simple. Easy. And real. Why is that so hard?
It’s hard when some part of you feels like it’s not OK to just be yourself. Like you’re not enough. Like you need to put on a show to prove your worth. But the more you create, share, and improve your art, based on feedback, the more you find that it’s not only OK for you to sound like yourself, but it’s also what people want. It’s when you’re not being yourself that jokes fall flat, writing sounds terrible, and performances don’t feel real.
When you’re most relaxed and allow yourself to be the most stripped down, genuine version of yourself, it’s easier for people to connect with you.
People won’t be moved by what you create if what you’re sharing isn’t coming from who you really are.
People want the real you. They want your weird, dark, quirky, and shining sides. If you’re working on a script or book, a good way to see if it sounds genuine is to curl up in bed (or somewhere relaxing) with draft in hand and read it out loud.
Does it sound like how you’d say it to your best friend? If not, say it out loud like you would, and then write that down. If that still doesn’t feel right, ask a friend, or ask a kid–they have a keen sense of when someone is being authentic and don’t feel the need to lie about it, so they’ll be honest.
If you realize what you’ve written doesn’t sound genuine, try not to get disheartened. It’s just an opportunity to strip away the pretense even further, and continue whittling your words down to those that would be said by your most essential self.
It’s what the world wants most from you.
To join a community of other like-minded artists, who are on the same path of bringing forward their essential selves, join my free FB Group: TEA House.