One of the major things that distinguish you from others is your voice. It’s both the sound of your voice and the way you say things. When you write, you also have a voice, and it distinguishes you from other writers. In this case, it’s the way you write things. And if you write pleasantly and interestingly that is characteristic of your personality, people will be drawn to it and are more likely to read it. Because of this, it’s important to develop a pleasing and readable writing voice. This article shows you how to do this.
Voice characterizes a writer; it is something you recognize immediately, in the same way, you recognize a singer after they have sung only a few words. One of the most important things in achieving a pleasant voice is writing the way you talk. However, the problem with this is that your “talking voice” may not be pleasant, interesting, or even grammatically correct. Furthermore, some people have boring speech patterns, and if they wrote the way they talked, they would also be boring. So a good writing voice isn’t something that comes naturally, and it usually takes time to develop it. It’s much like a good singing voice; some people are born with one, but most people have to improve what they have, which can take time.
You likely have some feeling for what a good writing voice is. On occasion, I’m sure you have picked up a book or article with a promising title only to discover that the writing, though clear and fairly concise, was boring. It just wasn’t interesting to read, and you found yourself struggling to stay with it. At other times you may have started to read something of only modest interest to you and discovered after a few paragraphs that you were enthralled with it. And you soon realized it was because of the writing; it was almost as if the writer was talking to you.
How Do You Achieve Voice?
Right off, that voice is something you want to develop, and it’s worth your time to try to develop it. So let’s turn to how you develop it. Two things are needed: relaxation and self-confidence. First of all, you must totally relax when you write and let the true “you” come through, but at the same time, you must be sure your writing has most of the things such as interest, readability, and so on that appeal to readers. Let’s look at each of these in more detail. Most people feel confident when they are conversing with friends, and the reason, of course, is that they are relaxed. We are relaxed when we talk because we do it so often, and we’re particularly relaxed when we talk to friends because we don’t worry about what we say. It stands to reason, then, that if you want to put voice into your writing, you should do a lot of writing – and indeed, this is the key. The more you write, the more natural it becomes, and the easier it is for you to do. No longer will you have to sit and think about what you should say (at least it won’t take as long). Writing will become as easy as talking.
It’s also important that you relax so that your writing sounds like your conversational voice. Don’t get me wrong, though. You still have to make sure what you write is interesting and entertaining. So there’s more to developing voice than just writing as you talk. But it’s the first step. You still have to make sure your writing is grammatically correct, readable, and clear, and you have to keep these things in mind as you write, but don’t worry about them in your first draft. That is what revision is for. I also mentioned that you have to have confidence in your ability to write, and of course, this goes for almost anything you’re trying to master. Without confidence, you won’t get far. As your writing improves, however, your confidence will also increase. It helps to read what you have written out loud occasionally; listen to how it sounds. Compare it to other writing. Other things that also help will be described below.
‘Soak Up” An Author
Another useful technique in developing a voice is what I call “soaking up an author.” You no doubt have several authors that you particularly admire. And, as you might expect, they can help develop your voice. Begin by looking carefully at the way they write. Study their “style.” Think about how they are achieving their results. Please don’t copy them directly, but try to emulate their good points. Incorporate some of them into your writing. The important point is not to copy a particular one but to copy the best of several. It’s important to remember that you are different and have a different personality than any of these authors to write differently. So use what you can from them, but continue to be yourself. It’s also instrumental in comparing something you have written to a few paragraphs of one of your favorite authors. Ask yourself if it is as good. If you feel it doesn’t revise it until you feel it is as good.