Austin Kleon quotes John Hendrickson saying:
We all have three voices: the one we think with, the one we speak with, and the one we write with.
This takes me back almost a decade when I used to write that my creative process, when in full flow, was a three faceted one: think, talk, write. Each being an extension of the others.
I would think in full sentences, as though I were drafting a blog post in my mind, and speak as though I were reading the finished article.
I'm aware that I am doing it now as I write/think this.
What's interesting is the context in which Hendrickson makes this statement: life with a stutter. He goes on to say of these three voices:
When you stutter, two of those are always at war.
Kleon thinks that, even if not at war, the three voices are "in a weird dance with each other" and this leads to tensions, for example:
If you’re a writer, your writing voice consistently says things your thinking voice hasn’t said yet
I still believe, however, that they are extensions of the same voice just at different stages of the process. By writing you are creating a focused environment within which the voices influence each other and manage to pin down the words they were seeking.
Write to think.
Talking can be thinking out loud. Speaking the words, and not restricting yourself as you do so, allows the mind to explore different possibilities, see things from another perspective. It's like when you brainstorm in meetings — everything goes up on the board, no matter how obscure. Things feel different and the approach allows you to work out what's best as you go; discard this, build on that, loop back to something you considered foolish but now see in a new light having explored the alternatives and dug a little deeper.
The voices get out of sync for all of us. It's during those times when you know what you should say, what you want to say but can't find the right words. It's in trying to convey ideas, feelings and emotions when they are so intensely personal and won't translate. It's when you don't have the luxury of working through it to arrive at the right place.
Sometimes we are lucky and all three voices are perfect traveling companions, in lockstep on their journey. But they usually travel at different speeds. We have to recognise this and, if possible, allow them to arrive in their own time. They will all reach the same destination if we wait.