Find your writer's voice

Author: Lily Shanker
Date: 2020-02-25

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A writer's voice is the individual writing style of an author. Simply put, it is a combination of the style of writing, perspective, and tone. 

Writing style:

It is the style in which you choose to tell a story. This is determined from word choice to sentence structure—you may prefer to write short sentences or long poetic ones, go overboard with descriptive adjectives or take a minimalistic approach. However, this can change over time.

To develop your writing style, reading is necessary. This is helpful in picking up different nuances from the style of other writers that will eventually define your unique style of writing.  

Perspective:

Every writer has a perspective, and it’s unique to each one. It’s your way of seeing and relaying instances or events based on your life experiences. 

Perspective is an important part of your voice because it determines what you bring forward in the narration.

Tone:

Your tone is instrumental in conveying the way you want your readers to experience your written piece. It gives the reader cues on how to feel about what’s happening. Your tone can be serious, brooding, ironic, wistful, formal, cheerful, comical, etc. 

The last thing you want is to be monotone. Readers need to feel your excitement, disappointment, disapproval, relief, etc as they read through your article. The tone in which you choose to narrate is part of the reader’s experience. 

What’s next now that you know what a writer’s voice is?

Developing your writer’s voice will take time (we’re talking about years), but it’s an exciting journey as you’re constantly inspired and influenced by other writers, changing the way you emote through words.

To figure out your writer’s voice right now, ask yourself the following 3 questions: 

1. How would you describe yourself as a writer?

Come up with 3-4 adjectives to describe yourself as a writer. Would you describe yourself as a conversational, playful, and/or ironic writer? This will give you an insight into the type of voice you’re likely to have. Most likely your writer’s voice will resonate with your favourite writers.

2. How do other people describe your writing?

Don’t just stop at describing yourself; ask your family and friends how they would describe your writing. Some adjectives could be relatable, easy to understand, evocative etc. 

Pay more attention to how others experience your writing as it might differ completely from how we perceive our writing to be. This can help you better define your writer’s voice. 

Once you know what your readers love about your writing—your word choice, quick delivery, or descriptive prose—it becomes easy to hone in on that one aspect.  

3. What are your favourite voices?

What voices are you attracted to? In other words, what writers are your favourite? Do you like their matter-of-fact writing, poetic narratives, or use of unique humor? Try to describe what’s similar or different in their writings. Subconsciously, you’ll infuse these voices with your own to create something unique in your writing. 

Final thoughts

Your voice is important. It impacts the way readers experience your story and ultimately how they will learn to recognise you. Undeniably it will take time for you to develop it down the years through lots of reading and writing, but what you will end up with is a voice that is distinctively yours. 

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