The truth of the matter is you don’t have to find your Author’s voice. You already have a way of speaking, thinking and talking that is unique unto itself. That is your writer’s voice.
Because you’re not used to writing you are probably getting in your own way—Which to you is justifiably so, since you’ve bought into the idea that writing is some high art form. This is such a myth. Or at least it should be. Writing is and always has been about communicating ideas, not being a show off. Communicating is something you do everyday. So just trust yourself and move out of your way.
How to Develop Your Writer’s Voice
Your voice has an innate signature, However, like most people, you probably find it easier speaking in your voice rather than writing in it. If you are in this category, here are 4 things you can do to get yourself back on the beaten path.
Just to clarify, these aren’t tips for “finding your voice.” They’re tips to remind you that you already have one.
1. Stop Trying to Sound Like Someone Else
If you want to come out of the starting block with the most profundity of mistakes. Try to simulate someone’s writing style. Please don’t do this. The whole point of being an author is to weave yourself onto the pages. I don’t care if you consider Hemingway the greatest writer in the world and you have every book he’s every written—You’re not him. You are you!
Your readers want to engage with your thoughts and emotions. They chose your book for a plethora of reasons. But mainly because they thought the works were coming from you. Had they thought someone else could do it better, they would have purchased their book instead.
You want a strong voice? Give your readers your knowledge in your own words.That’s all they want. An author who speaks to them in a clear, concise and authentic manner. Which would stand to reason since you probably like the writers you do because they remain true to themselves. They allowed their real voice to permeate their writings. And those readers could tell, like you, they weren’t copycats. Because it doesn’t take a true reader long to understand when someone isn’t being real with them. Always allow the uniqueness of who you are to come through your point of view.
2. Stop Trying to Sound Intellectual
Another fatal mistake some authors make is trying to use fancy words or complicated sentence structures; because this is their take on how writing is “supposed” to sound. Or, they think they have to “sound intellectual” for readers to perceive them as an intellectual. This is so wrong! No matter how smart you are, no one desires to read difficult writing. It throws a wall up between you and your reader—making you sound boring and unrelatable.
To be taken seriously you don’t need a fancy literary voice. You just need an honest one. Books of that magnitude bore me to tears. What about you?
If you want a concise and authoritative voice deliver good information with clarity. Keep your choice of words simple and delete memories of that “fancy literary voice” you thought you needed. Your readers will appreciate your realism instead of a literary nightmare.
3. Don’t Worry About Grammar
Writing the way you talk is the best way to write. Therefore, your writing won’t always be grammatically correct. Which is okay. When writing a first draft grammar is not something you should be worried about. In truth, grammatical rules aren’t rules at all. They are merely suggestions. That’s why there are so many books on grammar because of all the variables.
The only reasons grammar even matters in writing is:
- It makes communication easier
- Readers expect good grammar which is the entire point of number one.
A true author writes to connect with the reader. And the reality is people respond to each other–not grammatical rules. If you write like you speak people will connect with your work.
It may mean starting a sentence with a conjunction. Or maybe that means using sentence fragments. Perhaps it means using colloquialisms…Who knows? Each of us has their own unique way of speaking. Embrace your writing uniqueness. Breaking the rules is okay.
Certainly you want a professional looking book. You can fix all the grammatical errors further down the line. Once you’ve finished writing, turn that manuscript over to a good proofreader, editor or copyeditor. And even with them, don’t allow their suggestions to encroach on your narrative voice or disconnect from the reader.
4. Instead of Writing It Down Talk It Out
The reason an Author’s voice is called a “voice” is It directly relates to how a person communicates through speaking.
It is very difficult to type as fast as one speaks. This makes it harder honing in on your own voice. As I’d written in a previous post. “Some days I cannot write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. Then other days my thoughts are running to catch up with me.” When you’re typing and this happens, it interrupts your creative flow making the entire writing process feel awkward and stifled. If this is where you are stop trying to write it. Instead talk it out.
Ever heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking? Which is only one of many speech recognitions software on the market. Or you can set up speech recognition on your Windows computer. It’s not etched in stone that you have to write your book when you can just as easily speak it. You’ll have that draft before you know it.
If dictating content is not your cup of tea try talking to a friend. When talking to a friend you are not concerned about how smart you sound or going on a treasure hunt for your voice. When you speak your voice is natural. Discuss your subject matter and use that as an outline for your rough draft.
Do not make writing a book more complex than it needs to be. And when you come to that scratch in the head—let your writing voice take charge.
Until next week … Blessings and peace.
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