Finding Your Writing Style, Finding Your Voice
Do you let your voice shine through your writing?
Everyone has a unique writing voice and style. Have you found yours?
I was trained as a journalist in college. Trained, like a performing dog, to write using a very specific formula for creating a news story, and another for creating a feature article, and another for rewriting press releases, and yet another for writing an obituary. There was little room for creativity and I found it to be a thoroughly voice crushing experience. It was cramping my style. I can put this skill to use when there is a need, but it doesn’t flow from me with ease.
Sometimes your writing voice is your thinking voice; sometimes it’s your speaking voice. Sometimes it can be drastically different from who you seem to be entirely.
My writing voice is obvious to me. It is my thinking voice. And this is how I think. Snippets. Incomplete sentences. Abrupt. And also long, unending run on sentences that seem to go on forever and ever because the thought is expansive in some way and I just can’t fully explain it with out using many colorful, elaborate words. This has always been my voice, since the third grade when I was first inspired to write a book about my life and my feelings. I quickly ran in to some technical problems with my Apple IIe and never did complete the manuscript. Yes, the writer’s many excuses is a topic for another article.
I don’t think grammatically. I think I may have been born without the grammar gene. I know this drives some readers crazy and they want to tell me how to fix it and why to fix it and how much damage I am doing to the reputation of the English language because I refuse to fix it. I know it is there irking you, but I often just prefer the way it feels. My own little rebellion, I suppose.
Most of the time I seek to amuse my reader with my writing voice, but I am not all that amusing live and in person. I hate small talk. I just want to get right to the heart of the matter. Tell me what you are all about. Tell me about your struggles and triumphs or be done with me. I can’t connect well with people casually in the hi, how’s the weather manner. Oh, unless you want to talk about the cold and how monumentally annoying and disruptive it is to life. I try to connect with readers on a deeper level, letting them know that I get it, what ever it is.
Writing and real life personalities don’t usually match up perfectly. A meek person can write with fire and a fiery person can write with gentleness. A shy recluse can write effectively about social issues and a social butterfly can communicate the pain of loneliness.
Explore a little with your writing voice. Try a new one. There is no rule book that states one voice per writer. Follow your thoughts and let them stream out onto the page. Talk as you write and see where it goes. When the world looks drab, ordinary and plain reach back into your memory for something beautiful or intense to mull over in your mind and find a new angle.
Nurture Your Writing Voice
Nurture the passion and creativity within you and watch your writing voice come bouncing out like a super bouncy ball or flowing through you like a tranquil, steady stream. And start your sentences with AND however often you like and don’t let your creativity and voice be stifled by anyone, or any method or any theory or any stylebook. Then, when your voice is clear and strong, you can use such resources to sharpen and enhance your work. That is, if you want to, have to or feel like it, or if you are overcome by the immense responsibility of being a grammatically correct member of society.
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