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How To Find Your Writing Voice – 5 Tips

Freelance writers speak outShane Arthur did a guest post here called Why you’ll never write like the greats… and why you shouldn’t want to. He talks about the problems it can create when a new writer tries to copy the style or voice of a great writer. It’s well worth a read.

Although Shane tells you to write like yourself, that advice, true as it is, can seem confusing to a new writer. They long for instruction and reassurance. Although the real secret is to write, write, rewrite, and write some more, here are some hints to help you find your writing voice.

Wait – your writing voice isn’t lost. A better way to say this might be these tips may help you recognize your writing voice.

  • Write from your heart. When you write from your heart, from what you’re really feeling, your voice will be authentically you – which is what you want.
  • Write as if you were talking to a friend. Oh not exactly, of course. You don’t want the ahhhs and ummms or the sidetracks that happen between friends, but you do want the truth of that expression on paper, or as close as you can get.
  • Picture an ideal reader when you write. When you mentally see your ideal reader and address that person, your writing will usually be stronger than if you simply write for ‘everyone’ or even a bunch of people.
  • Be clear about what you want to communicate. Knowing your purpose in writing the piece your writing will help you focus and your voice to shine through.

  • Read, read, read. Shane’s right about that. The best writers read widely. Besides, it’s fun as well as productive.

When you write from your heart, like your talking to a friend, when you know who your writing for and you’re clear on your purpose, your voice is pretty much automatic. You don’t have to worry about it, just let it happen.

Of course, expect to edit, and expect your writing voice to change and mature over time. Other than that, just keep writing.

You might also find I’m Not Unique And Neither Are You! Except, Of Course When We Are helpful.

How did you develop your writing voice?


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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Hmm, interesting question. I’m not sure I have yet. I can tell other people’s voices. Stephen King got outed by a reader who knew his voice when he was moonlighting as Richard Bachman. I feel like I do, but how to tell?

    I try to do the second on my blog, like I’m talking to friends. That’s a more intimate thing than my content articles, which are simply informative and have strict guidelines about that.

    And I’ve discovered that writing scenes in random order works better for me than a linear approach in the first draft.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..SolitudeMy Profile

    • I don’t worry about my voice, Elizabeth… I just write.

  • Sometimes I have a writing voice, and it’s strong. And sometimes I have an off day where everything I write has as much personality as the instructions on a tube of toothpaste. The only thing to do is keep writing.

    My best trick is to pretend I’m writing an email to a friend, as you suggested. My second best trick is to write in random order. A phrase here, a sentence there, then move them around like the pieces in one of those sliding puzzles until the picture becomes clear.
    Cindy Bidar recently posted..Murder Your DarlingsMy Profile

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