Sounds easy – but in reality this is one of the hardest things to accomplish for many writers.
There are many opinions of what constitutes the writing ‘voice’. Is it your genre’s style, sentence structure, or your ‘way of talking’? How do you find yours?
How did we lose it to begin with?
There was an article a few days ago in the Huffington Post Find Your Writer’s Voice in 2014 by Theo Pauline Nestor, who was also promoting her new book on the subject, Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too) She wrote the obvious mantra, that we hear all the time – READ A LOT and WRITE A LOT! She also mentioned something that rang true, and near to me – Nestor said,
“One reason why voice and personality often do not show up vividly and automatically in the work of emerging writers is that our voices have been beaten out of us in school and in the workplace, both of which have individuality-tamping expectations and norms that regulate both form and content.”
For years we have learned to write the way our schools had expected us to write, and then we carried it into our work place. We are politically correct, using tact and non-offensive language. We have learned that humor should be strictly guided. We control our emotions, and make sure our writing passed the expected scrutiny of our peers. Even as a writer, we worry about creating work that fits within the boundaries of ‘good writing’. Along the way we have lost our real self – ‘our voice’. We lost our freedom.
Stop blocking your identity, your true form. It is not an easy task, and like many writers, Nestor chose to write long hand. There are other authors like Joe Hill, (son of Stephen King) who also professes to write stories long hand, to allow their creativity to spill onto the page. For myself, well I can’t read my own writing (it’s that bad), so it’s the computer for me, a comfortable place.
Plugging away – to find the voice
One technique suggested was to identify your own likes, dislikes or any other ‘unique quirks’. This is the hard part (for myself) because everything I have done and do seems so ordinary…. then I started to list.
Yes – I may be average statistically, but how many mothers of four, have been married almost 30 years (to the same man), have moved households between four states, have worked for major companies on new product development projects (one even for green energy), have owned two businesses, have tiled a kitchen floor, mows her own lawn that’s over two acres, and likes to get scared, and likes detective and horror books, was in love with Sherlock Holmes and Captain Kirk as a child, and also makes homemade egg noodles for kale soup?
Well – maybe this isn’t ‘quirky’ but it’s a beginning attempt to find my true voice – and define my individual writing style.
If you have any suggestions that work for you – please spill it here in the comments. We are always looking for new ways to look at a problem.
Keep Reading – Keep Writing!
Saw this music video on G+ and had to add it for you!
Great post! I love this song by Avicii…it’s one of my favorites! Great cover by Home Free on the video…thanks for sharing! Finding my voice hasn’t ever been an issue, but finding uninterrupted writing time has been a challenge. 2014 is starting with great excitement, as I embark upon a contracted commitment to complete 60,000 words in six months. I know I can do it and have already readjusted my working schedule to make room for the alone time I need. It’s already brought a completely new focus to my personal time. Wishing you a Happy New Year, Elisabeth!
Yes – finding uninterrupted time to write is definitely key. Good luck & best wishes for all your endeavors in 2014.
Interesting article, Elisabeth. I know it took me a couple of books to find what I think of as ‘my voice’, and I’m still developing it with each subsequent book. It seems to be trending darker, which surprises me, since I’m the last of the dewy-eyed optimists 🙂 It also took conscious effort to be effective in fiction after writing papers for an academic institution. Talk about dry…
No wonder your Kate Jones thrillers are packed with action – you had so much creative juice bottled up and ready to spill onto the pages. Keep writing those stories dvberkom … what are you up to – #5 or 6?
Wow, Elisabeth, how do you find time to write? 🙂
Hello Ralpham – haven’t heard from you in awhile – hope all is working out for you. I know you have to be writing 🙂 you’ve definitely have a ‘unique voice’ that rings true.