Writers worry constantly over how they sound. They worry that they don’t sound smart enough, hip enough, deep enough, or worst of all, writerly enough. That their writing is regressing, that everyone will find out that they’re faking it, that they’re frauds, that the only thing they know about writing is banging out words on a keyboard, and that sometimes, those words don’t even make sense. They worry that they don’t have a good voice.
But here’s the big secret: they--and you--probably already have a wonderful, authentic voice that is all your own. One that will endear you to readers and give your stories that elusive transportive quality you’ve been searching for. The key is freeing it from your preconceived notions of what a good voice is. See, the goal of writing isn’t to write just like George R. R. Martin, or to sound writerly, or even to obey all the grammar and spelling rules. The goal of writing is to tell a damn good story. And that means you can’t afford to let your writing get in the way of what you have to say.
Good writing sounds effortless, natural, and 100% authentic. Which means that when it comes to your voice, you are at your best when you’re just being you. Sounds easy right? I mean, you practically live with yourself! But believe it or not, most people spend so much time listening to other people’s voices, that they aren’t the best acquainted with their own. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you find, get to know, and finally claim your voice.
Step One: Getting to Know You
This is my favorite part. This is where you start to define what it means to be you—what your voice encompasses and evokes. Basically, you know what you do for your characters? We’re going to do that for you. Because, in many ways, finding your voice is defining your character on the world-wide stage.