We all have a speaking voice – and we all have a writing voice. Whether you’re a bestselling author, new blogger, or send an occasional email, there’s a tone and feel to our written words which goes way beyond the text.
In my experience, as an editor and agent, I often coach new authors about “finding their voice.” But what does this really mean?
We tend to write differently than we talk, and that’s not a bad thing. The spoken word and written word are very different mediums. But many writers fall into the trap of “this is how good writers are supposed to write.” So they put on their writers hat and are transformed into communicating like a different person.
Writing has a sound
You have a unique voice. Here are 7 ways to develop yours.
1. Write a lot. Write until your brain is so crispy that you stop carefully filtering your words.
2. When you read back your unfiltered writing, go easy on yourself. There are bits of your true voice in there! Pull these nuggets out and polish them. Look for the positives.
3. Find a few people who know you very well, and let them read your writing – with one question in mind: Does this sound like me?
4. Read your words out loud. How does it feel? Do you find yourself writing words that you never speak?
5. Ignore rules. Don’t be intimated by grammar – be in awe of the power of words. Try stuff. (The truth is – there are no rules!)
6. Jabberwocky! (see #5 above)
7. Pay attention to your live conversations. What feels most true to you – and what resonates most deeply with others – is it your storytelling? Humor? Directness? What traits of your in-person interactions should be intentionally expressed in your writing?
When I meet with an author for the first time, I’m always curious if meeting them in 3D will be different than meeting them through their writing.
In finding your writing voice, your goal is to bring seamlessness between spoken and written expression.
Let people hear the real you – through your written words.
What helps YOU find your voice?