by Suzie Eller
What is a writing voice? It’s how you write your words. Hemingway sounds different than Grisham. Voskamp sounds different than TerKeurst. You sound different than the writer sitting next to you.
The problem is that we often try to be someone else.
We want to be poetic like Voskamp. We want to be wise and witty like TerKeurst. Yet your voice is uniquely you. If you try to sound like someone else, it will fall flat. Even if you pull it off for a season, it’s exhausting to try to be anyone but yourself.
In this post, we’re sharing three tips to find your writing voice.
If your words sound like a stranger, toss it out.
Is this something you’d share with a friend over coffee? If you did talk to her in this way, would that friend look at you in confusion?
Speak the words out loud. Listen as if hearing the words for the first time. Does it feel natural? Does it feel like you?
Sometimes we try to sound like a teacher or an expert. Maybe we want to be funny like that writer we admire. If you are naturally a teacher and that’s what comes across in real life, awesome. If you are funny or lean toward satire in everyday circumstances, that will weave its way in.
Be uniquely you.
Pull that reader close
We might struggle to find our voice because it feels like we are talking to a blank screen.
Use your imagination. Pull the reader close. Consider the conversation you’d have with him or her. See her face. Her expression. Think of her questions. Then talk to her as you write.
When we do this, you can take the deepest topic and make it feel like a friend-to-friend exchange.
Our words can land in a wad when trying to juggle editing, goals, felt needs, word count, and a deadline. We may hit a brick wall.
When that happens, free write. Put a blank page on the screen and just write. Be honest. Be gritty. Let the rabbit trails happen as your words take you where they will. Don’t be afraid of humor. Don’t be afraid of sadness. Don’t be afraid of anger, or joy, or any other emotion. Talk about whatever is on your brain, from food to that fight you had to the thought you can’t shake from your brain. Let your words come out to play for at least three minutes.
You may find a gem in those words. You will restart your creativity. You will also find your writing voice somewhere in that tangle of words.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT IF YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT
Choosing any of the three tips above, write one paragraph that is you and only you.
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