Let Your ‘Voice’ Be Heard

My oldest daughter wants to be a writer. No, allow me to correct that, she IS a writer. What I mean to say, is that she wants to become a professional and eventually make a living in this field.

Wanting to be supportive and further her education in this field as much as possible, we have supplied her with many books and resources to help her along. She soaks it all up like the sponge she is and increases her scope as she progresses. I am very proud of her accomplishments.

Writing Her Speech

One area which seems to be a struggle for me is the constant reference to ‘your voice’ when writing. What does this mean?

My husband is an artist. He has a library filled with numerous books on the subject, in all its various forms; history, anatomy, study, color, style, and more. If you were to ask who he paints like (style wise), he would say, “All of them!” He enjoys so many different styles, he chooses not to be bound by one definitive mode.

So… when it comes to writing, how important is your ‘voice’? Are you free to choose amongst a variety of styles, like my guy does with art, or is there a need to be particular?

I will not argue that some people don’t have a ‘voice’. I’ve read several authors which are very recognizable and set a particular tone in their writing. What confuses me is whether or not one must have a ‘voice’ to be a good writer. Are there no authors who simply write and have no cares for a consistency of ‘sound’?

This prompts me to question my own meager writings. Do have a ‘voice’? I’ve never thought about it! I write as I would think and feel. I am particular about how I say things, but usually this is out of concern of offending, not because I am trying to be consistent with a form or style.

To better help us understand the purpose and means of acquiring said ‘voice’, I did a little online research as well. I found a great article HERE which helped explain this topic a little more.

I think “T” and I have a better understanding of what it means now. While we both still have a ways to go before becoming proficient in this skill (I’m not even sure that is one of my personal goals), we are enjoying the journey and having fun along the way.

Do you have a particular ‘voice’ when writing? What helped you establish your writing?

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12 thoughts on “Let Your ‘Voice’ Be Heard

  1. Voice, in my humble opinion, depends entirely on what you are communicating and your chosen audience. Someone who writes excellent murder mysteries may also write a delightful children’s book, but it certainly won’t have the exact same voice! Style differences aside, you use different voices in every day life so of course you’ll use them in writing. I don’t talk to strangers on the phone the same way I talk to my mom. I have subtle differences to communicate a professional politeness or a familiar intimacy.
    Whenever I consider my own writing voice, I can see definite tendencies, cadences, rhythms to my thoughts that may be unique to me. But I also see how versatile I can be, how I can color things to blend in or stand out, how an abrupt sentence will be funny or startling or offensive, how a longer word will be nothing but “sound and fury” or will fit exactly into my mood.
    The one thing I do try to watch is imitation. It’s fine to be influenced by favorite authors/writers, but I know when I’m copying a particular style and trying it on for size. It isn’t my own. After a while, I think I find a way to balance what I appreciate about those who influence me without compromising my own message.

    Just some of my thoughts! I also aspired to writing as a career when I was young. 🙂 God has given me a much more meandering path to that dream than I anticipated, but it does progress a little more each year.

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  2. While most authors have a specific, recognizable voice, it really depends on what they are writing. A lot of it depends on the genre and the characters. My writer’s voice in my blogs is not the same voice I use in my picture book manuscripts. 🙂

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  3. When I was in a college creative writing class, I was told I had a good voice. It was nice to know, but not so terribly important. My advice for your daughter is to write a lot and let her voice take care of itself. As she reads more, writes more, she’ll become part of the community of written word she has surrounded herself with. Voice will come naturally.

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  4. I hope to someday have my own book published, so I adore your daughter’s dream and your helping her.

    As to voice, I find that it develops over time. I used to moderate a writing website, and what I found consistent for most of the writers was that most of them began by modeling their writing off an author they admired. For example, I wrote fanfiction in the style of Erin Hunter (Warriors series) and Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders of Pern, Powers that Be, etc. etc.). By copying, I had a framework from which to jump from.

    Then, I wrote a lot. Like, a ridiculous a lot a lot. Like, five or six hours a day after getting home a lot. It wasn’t necessarily pretty and it was often a little on the goofy side, but I did it. I immersed myself in my worlds and eventually realized that there was a certain voice that tended to come through in my writing.

    I second what orthodoxmom said, also. What I write to friends sounds different than when I’m moderating on the writing site, which sounds different from my actual writing. It shifts and changes, just like we shift and change between each different connection. She is different with you than she is with her friends or with her teachers. 🙂 Remind her that it takes time sometimes to discover that voice, but that not having it solidly down doesn’t mean she is less of a writer. More often than not, we writers don’t even realize that we have a certain voice until someone else picks up a page and says something. 🙂

    Way to go for encouraging her. My parents never went out of their way to support my dream, though they’re coming around now. Having a cheerleader and supporter beside her will be an awesome thing.

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  5. You can’t contrive it. Since you say she IS a writer, it will voice itself =) in time. I have taught writing many years and would encourage natural practice in the other elements and just plenty of opportunity to explore words (which I know you afford her). The voice God gave her will emerge.

    Diana

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