Many writers struggle with finding their writing voice, and it can often take years for a writer to develop a voice that feels authentic to them. This has been something I too have struggled with, until recently. I went to university for a very long time, and since two of my university degrees required multitudes of paper writing, I became extremely proficient at writing with an academic voice. That’s great for paper writing, but this kind of voice can be cold and distant, and that’s definitely not what I’m trying to convey in my novels, or on my blog! Here are 3 techniques that were helpful in finding my writing voice:
I found it very helpful to actively listen to the way in which I talk. This can be a double-edged sword, but once you’ve reached a certain level of proficiency in writing, you can recognize which aspects of speech are acceptable to use in your writing. I certainly don’t need to include all of the slang, or shorthand I might use in conversation, but I can, and do have a more casual way of speaking, that has become very beneficial to my writing.
Mimicry is a great way to find your own voice, counter-intuitive though that may seem. It was only after I started trying to imitate the writing of authors I admired, that I discovered what aspects I love, and didn’t love about their work. Mimicry allowed me to try writing styles that were new, and a little bit outside of my comfort zone, to get a sense of what felt good, and most of all, authentic to me. My particular favourite author to mimic was the irreverent ‘voice’ Jonathan Stroud uses in his Bartimaeus series! Artists spend years tracing the drawings of the masters, and singers listen to recordings of brilliant voices. It only makes sense that writers too should mimic the styles of those who are already great at their craft!
Ultimately, writing, and a lot of it, was the most effective method I found to develop my writing voice. The more words I wrote, and particularly the frequency with which I started writing allowed me the practice I needed to feel authentic. As with virtually anything, the more you do it, the more proficient you become!
How did you find your writing ‘voice’? Tell me in the comments below!
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