One of the key tools for a writer is their writing voice. It is the way that they convey thoughts, and ideas and place them onto paper – be it real or digital.
It’s also the determining factor that measures the quality of our writing. I know this all too well as some of my earlier pieces – now deleted – were poor pieces.
Indeed, the writing voice is a necessary tool to be a writer, but not as important as us forming it into the best voice possible. Because the truth is that we already have a voice.
The real problem is that our voice is poor for whatever reason.
So today I’d like to explain how we can find our writing voice. Our true writing voice. A better version of the voice you have right now.
Read Your Older Work
The first thing you need to do to build your voice up is take time to rediscover your voice right now. What I mean by this is looking over some of your older work and ask questions.
What am I trying to convey here?
Do I support my arguments? Is my rationale sound?
The overall idea with these questions is to look at the quality of your writing. Questioning that writing is a necessary part as it assists in finding problems and holes in your work.
Holes that you can then start working on patching up.
At the same time, I find that reading older work can help in other areas too. For example, writers tend to cram multiple topics and ideas into a single post. So by going back and reading older work, you can spark new ideas.
Or perhaps you can repurpose the article entirely. Especially if it’s been several months or a year since you checked older work.
Either way, reading older work provides a premise of what your writing voice is like. After all, chances are you haven’t been changing it much.
Read Others Work
Pablo Picasso said it best:
“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”
But how exactly does a writer steal others work?
Well, I’m not suggesting that we all copy each other work here. But instead, try to copy another’s voice.
From formatting styles to the overall structure of a post, “stealing” those is all fair game.
After all, humans instinctively do this with opinions and reinforcing those opinions. It’s why social media gets so much flak these days because they only show us what we already agree with.
But anyway the best way to be stealing is by reading other peoples work. Whether it’s in a book or an article, we can piece together a writer’s individual style. Their writing voice.
And just like with our opinions, we can mix and match. We can pick some parts up and apply them. While we can also ignore or toss aside styles that don’t suit us.
In the end, stealing work in this manner helps us in finding our own voice and improving it. I know from my own experiences I’ve learned how to talk less about myself – even if this is a personal blog – and focus on how I can help you, the reader. And that’s come from my experiences writing and reading on Medium.
This also moves into my third point.
When I first started writing I kept to myself. I focused so much on output, that I didn’t think much of the quality.
It’s why for the first year or so, I felt my writing was underwhelming. Not to mention my growth as a writer was very small.
And I feel what was mainly responsible was the fact I saw other writers as my competition. It makes sense, especially on the business side of things.
But I later realized that big businesses do have their flaws too. One being that everyone seems to think they’re in a race. When the reality is, we’re not.
It took me a long time to realize this and overcoming that mental hurdle started to change my writing. I spent more time on Medium. And now I stay on there because it’s really helping me grow. Both on an audience and income level, but also as a writer.
All in all, it’s key to be building relationships. And as a writer, we need those connections. Even if you’re at a distance like myself, having access to other writers is still better than flying with no clear direction.
After all, we’re all in similar boats and we can relate pretty well.
Change Your Environment/Life
This was a trick that took me a long time to implement in my life. However, when I implemented it, it helped me immensely.
I know it sounds obvious, but a lot of writing tends to stem from something personal. What sort of topics we write about and how we write is deeply connected to what’s happening in our lives.
But one thing that may not be obvious is that this fact doesn’t apply to only personal writers like myself.
This applies to every writer in every industry.
Think about it.
We select specific topics based on things that we are exposed to. In a sense, we’re all storytellers in some way.
With this in mind, finding your voice and improving it can come from just changing your life around.
Mind you, you don’t need to do a massive overhaul of your life. For example, I took a health challenge back in November. It was a big step for me but it gave me a massive boost towards my goals and more content to write.
In other words, I changed my writing voice after experiencing something.
And I believe that is powerful for a writer. After all, we are storytellers and our ability to do that stems from us getting out and experiencing life.
But the beauty of this tip is the fact that the threshold to do this is very low. For the longest of times, I believed I needed to be making money in order to “experience life” when that’s not the case.
Furthermore, you don’t need to do something super wild to grow from this.
Something as small as sitting down for coffee or tea with someone, or going for a walk can be enlightening. Even something incredibly small as asking a question can spark some opportunities to grow.
Find Your Best Writing Voice
Regardless of what industry you are in, I feel it’s important to grow deep. What I mean by this is spending time looking at yourself and growing deeper.
Define your personality.
Understand why you believe certain things.
Learning how you convey your thoughts and ideas and how you present them.
It’s something that we often forget in self-improvement but also as a writer.
So do yourself a favour. Recognize that your writing voice is a work in process. Always. Just like yourself.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon