Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Four Tips (and one secret) for Finding Your Writing Voice

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If you’ve been around the writing world for any length of time, you’ve probably heard endless minions talk about “finding your writing voice.”  Maybe you’ve wondered what that means.  Or how to go about it.  Here are some tips:

First off, your writing voice is yours.  This may seem self-evident, but it’s amazing how many “writers” try to mimic someone else rather than work at developing their own style or “voice.”  Don’t be one of them.

Secondly, think of your writing “voice” as you would your spoken voice.  How do you sound aloud?  What kind of tone, accents, or intonations do you use?  Do you declare, express, state, proclaim, utter, whisper, echo, articulate or assert?  How do you express yourself verbally?  Is your voice strong, sweet, gentle, smooth, raspy, high-pitched or low?  Evaluate your writing “voice” in the same terms.  Whatever you do, be genuine.

Thirdly, realize that “finding your writing  voice” isn’t like searching for the lost city of Atlantis.  It’s not all that mysterious.  Jettison the cagey cloak-and-dagger stuff, and practice.  It’ll come.

Fourth, relax.  It took me awhile to “find” my writing voice, probably because I was trying too hard.  If you’re doing that, stop.  Relax.  Close your eyes.  Light a scented candle (I recommend lavender).  Grab another slice of raspberry white chocolate cheesecake or tiramisu.  Whatever works.

Now, after you’ve mentally told all the mutton-headed pundits to kindly zip it, sit down and write a few paragraphs.  No editing.  No second guessing.  No, “Oops, maybe I’m not doing it right.”  If something bubbles to the surface, let it bubble.  Write it out.  You can clean up grammar and punctuation later.  The idea is to get it down, uncensored.

Take a Look

Now, take a look. What tense did you use in your writing exercise?  Are you writing in the first or third person?  Are your sentences long or short?  What’s your theme?  How do you employ adverbs, adjectives or verbs?  Are your paragraphs creative, flowery, witty, serious, dramatic, insightful, humorous, coy, or dull as dirt?  (You have some work ahead of you if the latter is evident.)

Whatever the case, congratulations! You’re on your way to finding and developing your writing voice.

Here’s the next secret: Keep at it.

Have you “found” your writing voice?  How?  Share in the comments section below.

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