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Writing 101 – Embracing Your Writer’s Voice

Before we dive in together, let’s all agree and accept some universal truths.

  • Each and every one of us is unique.
  • It’s our differences that make the world a fascinating place and one worth writing about.
  • We need to embrace what we have to offer.

Keeping those “truths” in mind, let’s talk about our own distinctive writing “voice”. Just as we all think and speak differently, we also write differently from one another. In fact, taking that one step further, what we write today would be different from what we wrote yesterday or tomorrow. Mind-blowing, huh?

For me, it took a while to realize I don’t possess a formal writing voice. Actually, correction, it took me a while to finally embrace that my writing voice was more informal than formal. It just meant that my true writing voice lends itself to a more conversational tone rather than an academic textbook. It doesn’t mean that I can’t write formally and more to-the-point if need be, I am just aware that I have to think and write differently from my true voice to accomplish that result.

Hearing my own voice involved making a commitment to understanding my writing style. I challenged myself to get a sense for how I felt as I was writing and re-reading my work. It was at that moment that I better understood that I felt most true to myself when I’m writing as if I’m having a one-on-one conversation with my readers that is informal, friendly and as a result, engaging.

Two people have a conversation with tin cans and string

Can you hear me?

Not only do I feel most true to myself when I allow my voice to be free and unburdened, but as importantly (if not more so) is the feeling that my readers have when they read what I have to say. I would hazard to say that my most honest and engaging posts have also been my most commented ones. I’m sure you all can relate to that in your own writing and posts. It’s an unexplainable feeling, but people can feel realness and relate to it when they see it and in this case, when they read it.

Recommended Reading:  Resources - Blogging 101 Recap

Now, with all that said, I would love to tell you that every time I sit down, I create something real and engaging for both myself and my readers. However, I’m not there yet and likely will never be totally there and I’m alright with that. I’ve also embraced that it’s the challenge of discovering ourselves and listening to our own voice along the way that makes the journey worthwhile.

While we’re all at various stages of our own writing journey, let’s still try and do something together. I invite you all to read through some older posts of yours and get a sense of how you felt while writing it. Do some posts flow naturally and feel free? Are there others that feel forced? There is likely a mix and that’s good. It means there are moments that we allow ourselves to be just that…ourselves.

This article was written by Ethan Adeland, co-founder of FBC and author of Feeding Ethan.  He is a writer, photographer, traveler and experimenter in the kitchen.  Twitter: @EthanAdeland

 

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2 Responses to Writing 101 – Embracing Your Writer’s Voice

  1. Paula September 23, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    You are right on the money in this article Ethan. I think that bloggers all started from the same place, a desire to share with others and just like when meeting someone new, the conversation doesn’t always flow easily as you search for common ground for things to talk about. As you become more comfortable with yourself and with each another, so too does the conversation come easier. I think that the easiest way to write a post is to imagine that you are just talking to someone that you are comfortable sharing who you are, what you are about, with. Sometimes you may find that they are not all that interested and other times you find that they truly took away something from their encounter and decided to share it with others. For me, the old adage; you can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time but never all of the people all of the time is a good reminder that being true to who you are is the best way to find your writer’s voice.

  2. emvandee September 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    You’re right in that you should write in a voice that is most like your own – a cleaned up, tightened version of how you would normally speak. I think the challenge for some, especially new writers, is that in trying to “establish” a voice or sound conversational, the tone can feel contrived. An exercise to combat this is free-writing; it sounds hokey and “writing-workshoppy,” but transcribing your thoughts (verbatim!) without editing at first is a great way to feel comfortable with your words and familiarize yourself with your voice. Ultimately, I think the best writing reads as if it’s being spoken. Keeping it simple, in combination with ruthless editing, is the best way to keep your writing clear and accessible.

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