World famous author Salman Rushdie has said that if you don't know who you are, you won't be able to write very well.
That's true, and it has got everything to do with your voice. Your self and your voice are two sides of the same coin. To find one, you have to search for the other. To find the other, look for the one.
Left or right?
The question is where you start.
Most people in search for themselves turn towards self development. So did I as a result of my awakening 15 years ago, and I ended up spending five years of my professional life in the personal development industry as a facilitator of workshops and courses.
It's a viable path offering a lot of good stuff for most people – except for writers. If you are a writer it leads you astray, and before you chop my head off in anger, let me tell you why.
Beware of the jungle
The self of a writer can only be defined through writing. There is no other way. If you are a writer, you have to write to define who you are. Anything else is a waste of time.
You see, whatever you do in your search for yourself that's not based on writing, only takes you further away from writing. You end up feeling lost in a jungle of self development, when all you have to do is start writing – and stay there.
The beauty of the process of writing is that it has a self development effect build into it. You don't have to meditate on your chakras, or confront your parents with your notion of how shitty they were to you. It's not necessary.
Writing facilitates that inner process for you naturally. It changes your story about yourself, and when that happens, you change with it. You simply don't need all the other stuff.
Look for your voice
Having accepted that fact, a question of strategy arises: Should you look for yourself first, or should you look for your voice?
In theory, it doesn't matter as long as you do it in writing. One will lead to the other. Your self and your voice are intertwined and cannot be separated.
In my experience, though, look for your voice. It's a more well-defined goal to have as a writer, and it will bring everything else with it automatically.
Chances are that if you look for yourself first, you end up finding out that you are a writer – end of story. Which brings you right back to the beginning of having to sit down and write to find your voice.
So you see, you don't really have a choice as a writer. You are sort of locked-in. There is only one way, and that's to find your voice through writing. Once that happens, all the doors to your inner being open up.