Finding Your Voice: The Writer’s Quest

“What a lovely voice this writer has,” a reviewer commented. “Huh?” the novice writer sighed. “People are always telling me to find my voice but I have no idea how to do it. I don’t even know where to start looking!”
Writing Tip for Today: Have you found your writing voice? While most of us are in one stage or another of discovering or honing a writing voice, you can feel better about the journey by remembering these things:

  • Start with Passion. You’ve heard the advice to write what you’re passionate about. One reason to do so is that by writing about things which excite you, your voice is most likely to come through unfiltered by rules or what you think you should be writing.
  • Consider the Tone. Does your story call for an innocent tone, such as a child would use? Make sure the writing reflects that tone, and use age-appropriate words, observations and interpretations.
  • Who’s Your Audience? Always consider your readership as you adopt a voice. If you are irreverent to the point of crudeness, you may not be able to reach a religious or older audience. Likewise, a formal voice which uses big words may come off as stuffy for progressive or younger readers.
  • Who Are You? When you are developing your voice, start where you are. Let the essence of you come through, and avoid trying to imitate famous voices. Write in a natural way–that is, don’t be a writerly writer. Just get down what YOU have to say, and when you revise, tighten and rewrite for content and clarity, but let your personality shine through.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

4 comments on “Finding Your Voice: The Writer’s Quest

  1. Letters to the editor have voices filled with passion, tone, and perceived audience. Great examples of voice.

    They miss the Who Am I cautionary point- Don’t make your writers voice a whimper or a screech of nails on a chalkboard.

  2. I don’t consider my audience as much as I consider the other points. As a new writer I am exploring a lot to find my voice, and don’t want to worry too much about who will be reading my work. My husband is the first one to let me know if he finds my female-centric stories boring versus the action/thriller stories which he enjoys.

    Basically, I think it is more important that a new writer simply keep writing more so than worrying about how an audience will react to the writing.

  3. escape–I agree that you shouldn’t write worrying about who’ll read it. That said, one thing that hurts new writers is the mistaken belief that “everyone will want to read” their stuff. If you can try to write a lot and to write without being self-conscious, which is, as you point out, more important than audience–at least at first. ~Linda

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