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Finding Your Writing Voice

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by Emily Soares Proctor

My writing is my writing is my writing
Image by Esther_Gvia Flickr

Writing can be frightening, especially if you’re putting your thoughts down for others to see.  Whether you’re a solopreneur who is representing his or her company in print as well as fact, or a writer of any stripe, the truthfulness of your voice–how real your character is–will pull readers in.

You are your own best character, so introduce yourself to your reader by being honest–not in a literal sense (though preferred),  but by being natural.  The easiest path to authentic writing is to write the way you think, the way you speak. And that takes some practice:

  • Journal daily to get a bead on your own feelings and opinions.
  • Buy The Autobiography Box. Getting in touch with your past can be a great tool for figuring out what makes you, the main character in your story, tick.
  • Try Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” exercises to get you unstuck and uninhibited.
  • Start blogging! If it’s for your business, great. If it’s about your love of vintage salt and pepper shakers, wow!
  • Look for any chance to write for an audience: a newsletter, local paper, commenting on others’ posts–you name it. Being accountable and exposed in print sometimes takes working up to, so start any way you can.
  • Show your friends/family. Sometimes it’s best to get feedback from those we feel safest with first (depending on their social skills), so share your work within your circle to gain confidence and advice.
  • Have a dictionary/thesaurus and either The AP Stylebook, The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers and Proofreaders, or The Chicago Manual of Style (I use all three) nearby at all times.

Just like anything, the only way you get to know your own writing voice is by spending time with it. So whether you prefer to try poetry at your computer or like to write long-hand letters to Aunt Clara, clear some time, get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let yourself go.

Do you have a preferred method of connecting with your voice? Please leave a comment!

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