WRITING: HOW TO FIND YOUR VOICE

As a writer, trying to find your own unique voice can be an uphill task. In an effort to please our readers, we often fail to please our own selves and imitate the masters, in vain. I’ve often read pieces I had written and realized that they lacked consistency in terms of tone, lacked conviction and at times simply weren’t cutting it.



Often, the same piece has several tones, tenses and moods; this can be frustrating for the reader and can make them feel like the article they are reading is a “little off” to say the least. So how do we as writers, ensure we have our own special and unique voice? Let’s take a dig at it.

Before you jump into this story you might want to read: HOW TO START WRITING

Write the spoken word

Your writing is actually a conversation between you and the reader isn’t it? You’re telling them a story- it could be fiction, it could be an educative piece or it could bloody well be a research paper. You need to talk to them in the language they understand. The best way to do that is, to write the spoken word instead of weaving flowery and often emotionless statements. Write it, like you’d say it and you’ll automatically write with much more conviction.

Know your readers

Everyone tells you that it’s important to understand your audience but, what does that really mean? How do you understand who your audience is and what the bloody hell do they want after all? Let me be honest here, to write for someone other than your own self does not come naturally. Identify the kind of people who like what you write and understand what their lives are like, see whether they relate to you, are they like you or are they completely different? The more you understand the way your readers think, the more you can think like them and then all you have got to do... is write for yourself.

Keep it simple

The aim of all writing (and I’m paraphrasing Hemmingway here) is to put down on paper what you see and feel in the simplest possible way. The truth is if you’re really saying something worth listening to, you won’t need to put your superior vocabulary on blatant display. Simple does it! No one is really interested in a textual strip show. Time is of the essence and no one wants to waste it looking up difficult words on Google, just so they can understand what you’re trying to say.

Stick to one tense

Tenses are simple yet, writing in one tense can get tricky. We don’t always think in one tense and that can be a problem for many. The best way to do this is pick out one sentence right at the beginning, which establishes the tense you are going to use. Refer to it each time you are unsure of the tense you have been using. Stick to one tense to make it easier for your reader to read and understand.

Use active & passive voice smartly

Are you talking directly to the reader or are you passing statements? The difference between “We speak English in the UK.” and “English is spoken in the UK.” matters a lot when you’re telling a story. This also helps a lot when writing dialogues. Picking the right voice tells the audience about the character’s personality in a subtle and understated manner. Choose wisely and may the odds be forever in your favour.

Read it out aloud

When you read something out loud, it tends to solve multiple problems: It tells you where your punctuation is off and it also tells you whether a sentence makes sense or not. Reading something you have written aloud also helps catch spelling mistakes but, most of all it helps you assess whether you have managed to find your own voice. Something you have written should be so distinctive that a reader who has read you before should be able to tell that it’s written by you.

Your voice is something that remains consistent irrespective of the genre you’re writing in. Your voice is your style and though it takes time to find it; once you’ve found it you’ll never look back!

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