Finding your voice

A chance encounter. You speak and someone is listening, paying close attention. Someone thinks what you are saying is worth listening to. Quite possibly your audience is less experienced in life, just as likely that they are not. They’ve formed an audience around you all the same, the reason being that you have something to say which resonates.

It is great when you can pass on life’s lessons and yet not many of us do so, and not because we do not care, indeed many must do, likelier it is because we have no immediate audience or we feel as though what we know, everyone else knows. The latter could not be more untrue. We’re all unique beings with unique experiences – even through shared events. No two people experience things in the exact same way. In that way we all have something to pass on to others. We in effect can be powerful teachers in our own ways.

I recently found a voice, albeit incidentally. I was at AfricaWrites 2018, an annual literary festival held at the British Library, when I found it. A fellow participant wanted to know about my writing journey, wanted to know how I navigated writing my debut novel, wanted to learn about my discipline, my motivation, how I kept it up. The answers to these questions bubble in my head everyday, it’s like second nature, but to this participant it was a gold mine just struck. Life’s lessons takes many forms, and I found I could deliver a teaching moment to someone just off my experience. They may go on to write a book, they may not, but in that moment stood listening to me, they learnt what it takes to write one.

This can be applied to almost anything. We all have in us unique teaching moments to pass on, if only we will. It’s not altogether altruistic either. I was buzzing as I told of the inception of the idea of my book, my writing method, my research method, my writing interests, themes I find challenging, balancing writing with parenting and everything else. I found myself entirely an expert in this vocational field, and in a way that was benefiting another.
To provide this value to others, one must explore places and meet new people, make new contacts and connections. Do this knowing that you have as much to give as take from these encounters. Knowing, you have a voice. Use it.

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