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  • Writer's pictureJessica Van Devanter

Finding Your Writer's Voice: A Guide for Aspiring Authors

Updated: May 28

An open notebook on an outdoor table with a pen.

Your voice as an author is as unique as your fingerprint. Your “voice” in writing is the distinctive combination of factors like your tone, style, rhythm, syntax, perspective, and even punctuation that sets your writing apart from others. One example of a well known writer with a very clear voice is Stephen King. It is very clear when you read a novel or short story when it has been written by King. His use of colloquial language and touches of humor are some aspects of his writing that contribute to the distinctness of his voice.


Whether you are seeking to refine your craft or just beginning your writing journey, here are 9 simple steps to help you find your voice and unleash your creativity:


Read Widely:

Every successful writer will tell you, in order to write you must read. Don’t limit yourself to reading only work similar to what you want to create. Seek out a variety of genres, styles, and subject matter. Read both classic and contemporary works and work from other cultures, including translated work. Pay attention to nuances and styles, looking for what resonates with you and what doesn't, then ask yourself why. It can be helpful to keep a reading diary where you note techniques that stand out to you.

 

Write Regularly:

Practice is instrumental to finding your voice. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to write, even if it's just for a few minutes. Developing a sustainable writing practice will help you do this consistently. Experiment with different points of view, genres, tones, and use of language to see what feels most natural to you. As a helpful exercise, try rewriting the same piece in different ways. For example, you can write a 1-page piece in a formal tone then rewrite it in a casual tone to see what feels right.

 

Write Authentically:

Writing from the heart is a crucial element of finding your unique voice. Writing about topics that genuinely interest you, as well as drawing from personal observations, experiences, and feeling. Your passion and honesty will surely show in your writing. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint, and being interested in the subject is crucial to sustaining the momentum needed to reach the finish line.

 

Embrace Imperfection:

Don't be afraid to make mistakes or write poorly at first. Experiment wildly. Finding your voice is a process of trial and error. Allow yourself to write “imperfectly,” knowing that you can always revise and improve later (perfect writing doesn’t exist anyway, but that’s a topic for another time).

 

Find Your Unique Perspective:

What sets your perspective apart from others? Reflect on your life experiences, cultural background, and personal beliefs. Your voice emerges from the unique lens through which you see the world.

 

Listen to Feedback:

Seek feedback from trusted friends, writing groups, or mentors. They can offer valuable feedback and insights that can help you discover or refine your voice. Be open to constructive criticism and suggestions, but also trust your intuition. When someone reads your work, ask them to describe your voice to you. This can prove very enlightening.

 

Revise and Refine:

Writing is rewriting. Remember, every book you have ever read has been revised and edited. Editing and revision play an important role in discovering and drawing out your voice. Pay attention to language, rhythm, and tone to ensure that your voice comes through loud and clear.

 

Be Patient:

Finding your voice, like most aspects of writing, is a process that takes time and perseverance. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't happen overnight. Keep writing, experimenting, and exploring until you find the voice that feels uniquely yours. For some this is a quick process, for others it takes years. There is no set timeline.

 

Celebrate Your Voice:

Your voice is your creative fingerprint, a reflection of who you are as a writer. Embrace it, celebrate it, and let it guide you as you continue on your writing journey.



In the end, finding your voice as an author is about discovering and embracing what makes your writing uniquely yours. It's a journey of self-discovery and creative exploration that will surely strengthen your writing and make it stand out. So, embrace your voice, trust in your instincts, and let your creativity soar.

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