This Writing Voice Of Mine #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #Writer

Over the past few months so much has changed for me personally.  I feel like I’ve awakened to a new and improved self but only after a very painful beat down, a humiliation really.  But I see things so much clearer now. It was necessary and worth it.   

I didn’t see it until all of this happened – “all of this” being the isolation of Covid19 and the social unrest of what has always been issues in my personal life regarding race – but has come to the forefront lately because of the non-chalant killing of yet another soul, this time, George Floyd. what I didn’t realize was how much I restrained my voice whenever I created or spoke particularly to an audience that tended to be White.  

As I write that sentence, I feel a knife piercing my creative soul. How could I have ever restrained myself? My voice. My truth. Why would I ever do that?

It’s subconscious. It is not intentional. This is what racism or any “ism” has the power to do – it changes how we interact in the world because fear dominates that initial interaction. The creative process is mitigated by fear of not being heard “correctly”.  Dismissed by bias. Fear stifles our honest voice to generate truthful work. 

How did I notice this?  Well, it’s been having conversations in person but also on social media during this volatile time in our world.  Sending emails and tweets back and forth between people of different races and noticing how easy it was to write one tweet or email, verses another.  Feeling my comfort level change instantaneously when writing to “Becky” verses when writing to “Chantel”.  I tend to have less regard for how Black folk or People of Color view my words than White folk because I know Black folk (POC)  will “GET” me.  I hate to admit this, but it’s been like this my entire life. 

Now, some of this may seem clearly also cultural. I mean, when I speak Spanish with family that’s because we all grew up speaking Spanish and so we “get” each other. There’s a comfort there. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about just straight up writing and not being worried about if I’m “writing this easily for White people to digest and not to get too upset by it” kind of thing. Making sure I don’t use certain words that may push “readers” away – and when I say “readers” what I really mean is White folk who might buy my book if they’re not too offended.

It is not my intention to not share the true breadth of my talent. But I share this revelation because for me, it is a profound turning point in my work as an artist, as a creator, as a writer.  I didn’t know I was doing it.  I share it because racism is infused in every part of our society so much so that we don’t even realize how much it has constricted our voices.  All of our voices. What have you learned during this time about your creative self? Have you been stifled?

So much time is spent on hating and “other-ising” that the counter punch to that hate is always trying to get people to understand they have nothing to fear from me or others like me.  And yet as much as I scream, I still have to mold myself, package and pretty myself to make it palatable and likeable enough so you might be willing to understand just a piece of the real me…

I won’t do it anymore. This is me in freedom. This writing voice of mine.

You’ve been warned.


*This blog post is part of the #AuthorsToolboxBlogHop. If you’d like more information please check out the link.

18 thoughts on “This Writing Voice Of Mine #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #Writer

  1. Your post is amazing! Stifling our creativity for any reason is heartbreaking and emotionally damaging. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to be “unapologetically” ourselves as the quote goes.

    To answer your question… “What have you learned during this time about your creative self? Have you been stifled?”
    –I’ve learned that I need to give myself room to breathe and be happy with what I can do no matter what anyone thinks, especially if they think I should be doing more.

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  2. This is a beautiful post, Carmen. It breaks my heart to imagine how it must feel to stifle your creativity because of bias, but I’m so glad that you had this revelation and that you’re going to let your writing voice be free! The world needs to hear your truths!

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  3. Thanks for sharing these reflections. It sounds like a really cathartic realization about yourself as a writer, both in terms of creative writing and just life-writing like the emails. That awareness of how we feel the need to be so careful with our words around a certain audience, it is stifling. It crushes the soul, as we expend so much effort in playing out our worst-case scenarios that we can’t focus on what we wanted to say in the first place. I hope that working on using your voice anyway, pushing through the fear you describe, is positive for you. I know it will be positive for the world to hear.

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  4. I hope a lot of people read this. When it comes to myself, um, I wish I was learning things about myself. I’m safe and I’m grateful, but I’m in a bit of a holding pattern in terms of growth as a writer, for sure, but that holding pattern started before the pandemic. I’m hopeful I’m working my way out of it. You’re kind of inspiring me to check in with myself particularly when writing emails. I keep thinking the world won’t like the real me. I’ve never been a glass-half-full kind of girl. Pragmatism isn’t as sexy, but it’s what I’m working with. 😉

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    • I love the idea of checking in with oneself regularly as a writer/creator! I may actually put it on a calendar and schedule myself. And I’ll share a little “secret” with you — we all think the world won’t like the real US. I think that’s part of human nature… Isn’t that kind of funny? We all think that. Human beings want to be accepted so it makes such sense. But yeah, I get it. We all have to walk through this time and as best we can… I’m right there with you!


  5. Thanks for this, Carmen. I am guilty of censoring my words depending on my audience, always have been. Being super sensitive, I constantly worry I may offend, annoy, or anger someone else. It was beaten into me that I should never hurt someone else’s feelings. Ever. I walk on what I perceive is thin ice. Unfortunately, with the current climate, my self-censorship has only increased. Now I write things only to delete them. mostly because I worry about how others will respond. I see so many online lashing out, assuming insult, and assigning guilt. The world has never been a safe place for me, and now it is getting smaller.

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    • I’m so sorry to hear this, but I do understand. May I share a different perspective? We all have different styles. Some of us are confrontational and some of us are not. Maybe a lot of us fall somewhere in between. I feel like that might be different than sharing our true voice. But I hear you. It is a difficult time for all of us and we’re trying to find our way. But, if you hold back, I am saddened by what I’ll miss. I learn so much by knowing and understanding your truth. May I suggest that maybe you continue to write freely without self-censorship and then, just hold onto them? You don’t have to share them immediately. Wait, until some time has passed and then go back and look at it again. I bet, with a little time, you’ll find a way to want to share your beautiful work anyways. I hope you’ll think about it. You know, this might be a stretch, but I look at OLD pics of myself when I thought I was fat and when I look at them, I realize how fabulous I looked back then. I’m not sure the same thing happens with my writing, but I do know, sometimes, from a different perspective and time, my writing can and does change too. Thanks for stopping by — your comment touched me something fierce. Sending you a hug.

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  6. The first book I wrote was an historical fiction about a Spanish priest and young Native American and how his world was thrown into turmoil. I published it because I had several people (not my family) tell me it spoke to them, touched their hearts. I had put a great deal of research into this, as well as thought and prayer. Recently I was told that such stories should be “sensitivity read” and I do not have a right to tell them. But I have found over the years from comments on Amazon and Goodreads that the voice of Noki as well as Father Peyri don’t touch Native Americans, but Anglos/whites who might not have considered that other horrendous part of American history and now they do. I will never apologize for that. Great blog. Go Carmen!!

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