Finding & Knowing Your Writer's Voice

by - October 26, 2015

finding and knowing your writer's voice #write31days

I don't particularly like the phrase 'finding your voice' because it implies that something has been lost. You can't lose what is an ingrained part of you, can you? It can be suppressed, sure, but lost? I don't think so.

We all have a voice - it's in each and every one of us...we need only to uncover it.

Knowing your voice is what's important. A strong readership swells from a consistent voice. People read you because they enjoy your style - because your voice speaks to them. Understanding what that is and working consistently to farm the content they're hungry for just might put food on your own table too!

Identify your goal - what kind of writer do you want to be? Is it true to who you are in real life? Does it reflect your values? Does it sound like you talk or think? Can you produce authentic content as the writer you want to be or are you just copying your favorite authors because you envy their success?

[Confession: I want to be Anne Rice. Because - gah! - her writing is so hauntingly beautiful I can't even understand how it came from a human mind! BUT I AM NOT ANNE RICE, nor will I ever be. Her writing is informed by her heart for New Orleans and an imagination that puts all others to shame. Her voice is rich in mystery and folklore and an eloquence that stops my heart. I can try to emulate her BUT I WILL ALWAYS FALL SHORT because it's not true to my truest being.

Writers, it's okay to fall in love with other writers; in fact, I implore you to do so! Celebrate all the beauty and then go and make your own. YOUR OWN. Because you're the only one who can tell the story you were meant to tell. Anne Rice can't write my story. Only I can. I'm coming to a place where I'm finally okay with that.] 

Read through some of your old work. Compare it to recent projects. What similarities do you see? These are the defining factors that make you the kind of writer you are. 

Ask other people what kind of writer you are. Readers are more likely to recognize your voice than you are yourself. Look for what they see. Understand it. Embrace it. That's why they're reading you!

Vulnerability is the only true way to find your authentic voice. Be brave. Be real. Write raw. Let it spill out. Write now - think later. When you write freely your voice will flow. When you don't force it - when you just let words happen - you may be surprised to find yourself gazing back at you from the words on your screen or page. This is a visceral moment of self-discovery and you should hope for it every single time. {One of the most incredible things about my participation in NaNoWriMo last year was how it stole every single moment I had to think about what I was writing. If I wanted to make my word-count goal I had to put my head down and get the words out and when I went back in December and read through some of what I'd written I had those heady moments of "Wow! I wrote that?!?" Because I didn't have time to get in my own way. Because I was forced to be brave and just let the story pour out of me.}

Why is your voice important?

Your voice is what makes you unique - it's what sets you apart from all the other noise out there. You have to do more than shout. You have to develop your voice to a point that it rises above the commotion - proving that you have something worth attention - that you have dedicated the head-space and the heart-space to know how to tell your story in a way that's new and fresh and entirely you.

A final word

Be yourself. There's nothing more I can say. Writer's who don't make it are the ones who burned-out trying to be someone they're not. Be true to the you that lives in the deepest part of your soul - that's where your voice is. Uncover it. Use it. Be heard. 
{click the image above to see all the #write31days posts}

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  1. People who know me and read my blog say they can hear me tell the story in my voice. I don't think I know how to write, but i am a good story teller. Not sure if that is good enough, but it is who I am. So the rest will just have to come in editing. Hope I can do this?

    1. You're an amazing story teller!!! It's why I feel like I know you so well!

      And yup - anyone can edit...if they really want it

  2. I like the idea of 'uncovering' my writer's voice beneath all the other voices that float around in my head. It's a matter of pushing away what is not important or helpful and finding what is truly at the heart of me. Me. Not what I think is me, or should be me, but me.

    Write 31 Days has been so good for me in getting the posts done daily rather than sitting on them and mulling them over too much. I feel it's helped me be more authentic and true to me.

    1. I agree - it's really been about making it happen instead of thinking too much.


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