HOW TO FIND YOUR WRITING VOICE
Have you ever reflected upon whether or not others would know your written compositions without you putting your name on them? Indeed, many authors great and small have a recognizable writing voice and having a distinctive one is fundamental to acquiring a following.
According to author Leah McClellan, “a writer’s voice consists of attitude, tone, and personal style.”
Attitude concerns feelings, philosophy, and convictions. It also regards your manner of speech, body language, and behavior.
Tone is about the way you express yourself. As the saying goes, “It is not so much what you say but how you say it.”
Personal style has to do with grammar, and your use of vocabulary, punctuation, and literary devices. For example, “Is your writing style lofty—making use of academic words and complex sentence structures, or do you write simplistically as though you were teaching children? Do you only use periods in your writing, or do you intersperse them with well-placed commas, colons, semi-colons, question and quotation marks, and exclamation points? Do you bring interest to your writing by using literary devices such as imagery, analogy, metaphor, rhyme, and plentiful others?
Actually, many authors have more than one writing voice to complement various literary styles and as well use multiple voices within the same manuscript (such as a fiction novel where there are many characters to portray).
However, before you can develop your writing voice, you have to find out what it is at present. A paraphrase of some of author Jeff Goins suggestions is:
- Honestly describe your personality with three adjectives (extrovert, introvert, funny, serious, etc.).
- Question yourself about whether or not this description expresses the way you talk.
- Use several adjectives to represent your ideal reader, and then choose a time to write to her or him.
- Select five books, articles, or blogs and analyze how they are both similar and different from one another as well as what inspires you about each of them.
- Ask the opinions of others concerning how your writing sounds, and then, make a note of their responses.
- Set aside a time to just write without editing, and determine if the result is something you would publish.
- Study one of your compositions and objectively admit if it is anything you would read.
- Decide if you enjoy the way you write. If you don’t, you might not be using your personal voice.
Lastly, some strategies for developing your writing voice once you find it are to read voraciously, write prolifically, make outstanding use of grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation, and compose with self-confidence!
Paying attention to all of the above will ensure that you find your writing voice and then further develop it into a written rhetoric that is both creative and unique.
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