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 ALOT and WRITE ALOT! 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.
Saw this music video on G+ and had to add it for you!